VCU: Keeping Students Safe and Informed with Techonology

November 4, 2011

crime.jpgBy Justin James
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va–With a campus of more than 30,000 students, safety is a primary concern at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU Police are using two different systems to help keep those on campus safe and up to date.

One of the methods students, faculty, and staff are all familiar with as it was recently used. E-mail alerts were sent out to everyone on the Monroe Park campus in September when there were three different and unrelated incidents of crime. For VCU Police to send them out, crimes need to meet certain criteria.  


“We really, really, try to establish first and foremost is whether or
not a particular level of risk for student, faculty and staff. If there
is a significant level of risk that the situation presents for students
faculty and staff, we generally do a notification,” said John Venuti,
Chief of Police for VCU.

However, for more pressing matters, like the 5.8 magnitude earthquake
that rocked Virginia in August, a more immediate alert is necessary.
Text messages sent through VCU Public Relations are ways to let students
know if there is immediate danger or concern. They are sent to all
students who sign up for the alerts. Over 16,642 students have the
alerts sent to their phones, which are also are used monthly to notify
them of when the college tests out their emergency sirens.

Junior Public Relations student Rebecca Wiley thinks that both alert systems are useful in different ways.

“I like having the emails because it gives more details, but I also like
having the texts, especially when the sirens are going off. Now I know
not to be worried about it.” Wiley said.