VCU talks security as classes set to begin this week

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With more than 30,000 students getting ready to hit the books for this new semester at Virginia Commonwealth University, campus police are talking security and new options they have on campus to keep students safe.

VCU is abuzz again. Students are back on campus and classes start in just a few days. So far, VCU police said "move in weekend" was pretty successful with no problems. And, police hope it stays that way throughout this year.

For two freshman that we caught up with -- just two days into their college career -- they already have a safety game plan in place.  

"I'm not looking to put myself in a situation where I am going to be susceptible to robberies," said freshman, Xuan Vo.

But those robberies are crimes that we've been reporting on recently in and around the Monroe Park Campus. From smaller crimes, to armed robberies, they can happen at any time.

"I do have the VCU police number on speed dial so if anything happened, I can just call them up," said Viv Nguyen.

That's one good idea. But VCU is looking at some other options too, so you don't become an easy target.

"If you have equipment in your vehicle, like a GPS, cell phones, iPods. Make sure you have them out of sight. Also, park in our parking decks that security," said Sgt. Nicole Dailey with VCU Police.

This semester, the school will offer a campus shuttle bus. It will be for students, stopping at locations that are popular on the campus. It runs from 8 a.m. until midnight.

There is also another option available from campus. "After 5 p.m., we have our escort system that if a student gives a location we'll pick them up and take them as long as it's in our jurisdiction," added Sgt. Dailey.

Also weighing heavily on the minds of many is the disappearance of VCU student Jonathan Dorey, earlier this year. While police are keeping quiet about the ongoing investigation, they say students are welcome to bring their concerns to authorities.

"We are open with information that if students or parents have questions they can always come in and talk about our policies and procedures in addressing them. There's no secrets in that!" said Sgt. Dailey.

That's news that has the freshman we talked with, along with the thousands of others on campus, feeling good about the year.

We are also told that at any time, 24 hours a day, there are more than 10 officers on patrol throughout the campus.

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