Safety Tips & Robbery Prevention
Although violent crime at VCU is rare, we are not immune from such realities. Although quick arrests normally reduce citizen anxieties, prevent yourself from becoming a victim of crime by following the safety tips presented below. Consider what you can do to enhance your personal safety.
Tips for Being Safe When Walking
Robbery is a dangerous crime that can threaten any person or business. It is a crime of violence. Remember that money and material items can be replaced; a life cannot.
- Travel well-lighted, busy routes. Avoid walking or parking in shadowed areas. Have your keys in your hand as you approach your door, and remember to be alert to what and who is around you. Glance under your car, around it and in the back seat as you get in.
- Be alert and aware. Pay full attention to who is around you when you are in public. Avoid text messaging and talking on the phone if you do not absolutely need to use the phone.
- Beware of "Apple picking. "Be alert when using, or simply carrying, your smart phone -- including iPhones and Android phones -- especially after dark. There is a market for stolen smart phones and you could become a victim of a robbery. If you do not need to use the phone, keep it secured and out of sight.
- Avoid displaying and carrying large sums of money in public. Only carry the credit cards you need. At VCU, use the debit account feature on your VCUCard for bookstore, dining and parking transactions.
- Be careful with purses or wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, but do not loop or wrap straps around you. A purse snatcher could injure you. Keep wallets in an inside pocket.
- There’s safety in numbers. Don’t make yourself an easy target. If you must be out at night, arrange to go to class, do errands or go shopping with a friend or two.
- Use a shuttle. If you are alone in the VCU area, use the RamSafe shuttle from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. by calling (804) 828-SAFE (828-7233). For an escort on the MCV Campus, VCU students, staff and faculty should call (804)828-WALK (828-9255) and present a VCU ID. Both services are free.
- Know the locations of the Emergency Response Telephone System throughout both campuses. These ERTS phones are located throughout the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses and provide direct communications with the VCU Police Emergency Communications Center and identify the location from which you are calling. (Outdoor ERTS phones are yellow call boxes labeled "VCU Police," while indoor ERTS phones are red dial-less wall phones.)
- If you are confronted, COOPERATE! Give the criminal what he/she asks for — wallet, keys, jewelry, credit cards and electronics. Your life is more valuable than replaceable possessions. Don’t make sudden moves or try to apprehend the criminal yourself. Concentrate on remembering a description and call police immediately.
If a Robbery Should Occur
- Your safety is most important. Above all, don’t be heroic.
- Do what the robber says and don’t stall.
- Don’t make any sudden, unexpected moves. A nervous criminal may think you are reaching for a concealed weapon.
- If the suspect claims he has a gun, knife, razor, or other weapon in his pocket, never try to force his bluff.
- Afterward, call the police immediately. If you are on the university campus, call (804) 828-1234. Off campus, call 911.
- Keep all witnesses at the scene until the police arrive.
- If a witness must leave, write down his or her name, address and telephone number.
- Write down a complete description of the suspect, weapon and vehicle used, if any.
The VCU Police Department posts daily incident reports and up-to-date information on crime statistics so that everyone can be aware of what is going on around them. If you have suggestions or concerns about campus safety, please call the Emergency Communications Center at (804) 828-1196.