From text messages and shoe leather to workshops and community meetings, West Virginia University’s 52 police officers constantly strive to ensure the campus is a safe environment.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our students,” says WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts. “At WVU, we are committed to finding new ways to reduce and prevent crime, and to teach students how to protect themselves and be more aware of potentially dangerous situations.

“WVU has always prided itself on being a safe campus and we plan to continue that record,” Roberts said.

Several high profile incidents that have occurred on and around WVU’s campus in recent weeks, however fewer violent crimes were reported this October (11), than two years ago (20), despite a larger student population. Property crimes are also fewer than in 2007. The trend is the same for the academic year to-date (August-October).

WVU Police patrol campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers are on duty in vehicles, on foot and are stationed in residence halls.

“Overall I do think WVU is a safe campus and University Police do a very good job containing situations and are always looking for ways to make things better,” said Jason Zuccari, president of WVU’s Student Government Association.

Zuccari noted WVU’s Text Alert system—and some recent changes to it—as a positive step forward.

“That is something a lot of students have found very helpful and it gives them easy access to what is going on. I think it helps students feel a lot better about things and it allows them to stay away from an area if something is going on,” he said.

WVU’s Text Alert system sends text messages about emergencies and adverse weather to anyone who registers online. To sign up, go to http://emergency.wvu.edu/alert/.

University Police also monitor 37 blue-light emergency telephones in strategic locations around campus. The phones are designed so students who feel that they may be in danger can push a button and an officer will be dispatched to their location.

The University also offers a variety of tools to help inform students how to protect themselves. A self-defense course is available for all female students to learn a variety of techniques to help protect themselves in a variety of situations.

Weekly campus crime maps are available on the University Police Web site at http://police.wvu.edu, as well as a list of “Safety on Campus” tips designed just for students.

As part of the required University 101 course, students learn about the importance of walking in groups, the dangers of alcohol and drugs and general personal safety.

Programs like “Operation Lock-Out,” where officers secure unlocked residence hall and office doors leaving cards saying “You could have been ripped off!” also encourage students, staff and faculty to practice greater diligence in securing safety and property.

For more information on campus safety, go to http://police.wvu.edu/ .

-WVU-

cd/rl/11/18/09

CONTACT: Bob Roberts, University Police
304-293-3136, Bob.Roberts@mail.wvu.edu