VCU Police on Twitter, promoting safety

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We first discovered the VCU Police Department's account on Twitter early this morning. Turns out that students we talked with were surprised it popped up, but most are on board.

The social media push is growing and growing. Several local police departments are on Facebook and many are noticing the influence of it all.

In fact, VCU student Rashaunti Budgess just joined the Twitter universe herself. "Everyone has one, like Facebook. Everybody has one so you just join the network."

And now another agency is online, VCU Police is on Twitter (

The number of followers jumped from a few dozen to much more in just a few hours this morning.

"Any measure they take to increase the safety and the safety of students is great," says Budgess.

She hopes -- along with other students -- the police department will keep students aware of things going on in and around campus, especially crime.

Student Amy Flint is ready to follow too. That could be especially beneficial, after hearing about several robberies near VCU in the Fan recently.

But some aren't on board. "It might be successful on campus. But, for me, no," says Geoffrey Johnson.

Geoffrey feels there are other ways, like the student newspaper, to keep students informed about crime there.

"I think it's necessary because that's the turn the world is taking, texting and Twitter. I think it's good they are progressing with us," adds Flint.

Speaking of text messaging, the Richmond Police Department is now working with VCU to start a campus iTip program.

It would be exactly what RPD and Crime Stoppers are using now, where you can text a crime tip, anonymously, to 274637.

In fact, this new crime solving tip is now up and running at the University of Richmond, too.

"What harm can it do, you know?" adds Flint.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.