6-13 Crime Prevention
Policy Type: Local
Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department
Initial Policy Approved: 1/27/2014
Current Revision Approved: 1/1/2022
It is the policy of the VCU Police Department (VCUPD) to provide the faculty, staff, students and visitors of VCU with a centralized source of assistance in making the university community more secure through proactive crime awareness and crime prevention programs and community relations efforts. This policy outlines many of the functions and activities required of Crime Prevention Specialists, but is not intended to provide an exhaustive list due to the fluidity of the needs of the department, the university community and neighboring jurisdictions.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.
Duties of Crime Prevention Specialist
- Pursuant to the statutory authority granted by the Code of Virginia § 9.1-102 and § 9.1-161, the duties of a Crime Prevention Specialist include the following:
- To provide citizens within their jurisdiction information concerning personal safety and the security of property, and other matters relating to the reduction of crime.
- To provide business establishments within their jurisdiction information regarding business and employee security, and other matters relating to the reduction of criminal activity, including but not limited to, internal and external theft, environmental design, and computer security.
- To provide citizens or businesses within their jurisdiction assistance in forming and maintaining neighborhood or business watch groups or other community-based crime prevention programs.
- To de assistance to other government units within their jurisdiction with developing plans and procedures intended to reduce criminal activity within their jurisdiction.
- Generally, encourage the reduction and prevention of crime within their jurisdiction and the Commonwealth.
- Crime Prevention Specialists are primarily responsible for crime prevention functions and activities; however, crime prevention is a responsibility of the Crime Prevention Officers, but a shared responsibility of each member of VCUPD. Department members are obligated to provide basic crime awareness prevention information to citizens when answering calls for service or through other informal contact. Officers will encourage members of the university community to participate in the department's various crime awareness/prevention programs.
Crime Prevention Functions and Activities
- Crime Prevention Specialists initiate problem-solving police solutions through crime prevention programs designed to target crime type and geographic areas, formulated around crime analysis data, as well as those intended to address perceptions and misperceptions of crime within and around VCUPD’s jurisdiction.
- Crime Prevention Specialists accomplish this task through the following duties and responsibilities:
- Review of crime data analysis, based upon an independent assessment of geographic location, time of occurrence, and assessment of crime patterns on each campus. This information shall be utilized by command personnel in determining manpower resource allocation, preventive patrol activities, or for the targeting of plainclothes activities.
- Provide approved crime awareness/prevention information to students, faculty, patients, and staff of the university community. This will be accomplished through printed materials, oral presentations slide, and film presentations that are approved and presented by the uniformed officers. (The Public Relations Specialist will submit crime awareness/prevention information via the university newspapers, student handbooks, and employee handbooks.)
- Monitor social media outlets (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) for activity related to public safety.
- Maintain a liaison with the VCU Foreign Languages Department for a language bank to provide crime awareness/prevention officer’s access to volunteer foreign language specialists, which will enhance police interaction with the community.
- Maintain a liaison with various fraternity, sorority, student government and other student groups, Resident Assistants and Residential Living & Housing (RLH) personnel regarding available crime prevention programs, procedures and activities.
- Crime Prevention Specialists and/or the VCUPD command staff provide crime prevention and safety/security input through the development and/or revision of institutional policies affecting campus safety through the Compliance Advisory Committee or anytime, as needed.
- Crime Prevention Specialists and/or the command staff provide crime prevention and safety/security input through design and construction of campus facilities. The Chief of Police or their designee shall appoint the appropriate employee to provide such input.
- Assist the Victim/Witness Coordinator with domestic violence and intimate partner violence responses, victim safety planning, and threat assessments, as needed.
- Provide personal safety alarms devices to victims of crime as well as anyone in the university community that expresses an interest in their use.
- Crime Prevention Specialists are trained to provide physical security surveys and security inspections for the university community. These activities include providing recommendations for security hardware, procedural improvements, key control, environmental design approaches and increased personal safety awareness.
- Conduct lighting surveys of all exterior lights twice annually.
- Encourage the use of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) theories and practice throughout the University community.
- Assist in developing community policing and problem solving strategies, as needed.
- Provide relevant training to new recruits and shift personnel to address physical security surveys, security inspections, CPTED, community policing and lighting.
- Provide specialized crime prevention presentations in specific and particular areas of concern for the university community.
- Promote and encourage the use of the VCUPD’s virtual campus watch program via the LiveSafe app.
- Maintain an Operation Identification program and online registration.
- Represent VCUPD by maintaining a crime prevention information booth at various community fairs, displays and area activities.
- Inspect and document outdoor emergency response telephones (ERTs) on a monthly basis.
- Inspect and document panic alarms on a quarterly basis and evaluate the security need of each installed alarm on a biennial basis.
External Relations Office
- A Crime Prevention Specialist is permanently assigned to VCUPD’s External Relations Office.
- The External Relations Officer initiates problem-solving police solutions through the following:
- Interacting with organizations and businesses within the community and/or developing community groups, as needed.
- Advertising VCUPD’s objectives, community issues and successes on a regular basis.
- Attending regularly scheduled community organization or other group meetings.
- Tracking party house and noise complaints based on time, date, location, individual(s) involved, complaint type and outcome for future use.
- Forwarding community input to the appropriate institutional department or external agency.
- Developing community policing and problem solving strategies, as needed.
- Educating and informing students, faculty, staff and visitors of ways in which they may contribute to VCUPD’s vision that “Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility.
Evaluation of Activities
- Crime Prevention Specialists shall prepare a semi-annual report that addresses, at a minimum, all of the following elements for review by the chain-of-command through the Chief of Police, with a copy sent to the Assistant Director for Clery Act Compliance and Records Manager.
- An overview of progress made in addressing previously expressed community concerns and problems
- An overview of current concerns voiced by community members
- An overview of potential problems that could affect law enforcement, security and public relations within the community
- Recommendations for action that address those concerns and problems identified by the community
- Crime Prevention Specialists shall complete a comprehensive written evaluation of the agency’s crime prevention programs at least once every four years for review by the chain-of-command through the Chief of Police.
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
1/27/2014 - 6-13 Crime Prevention