October 21, 2010 — Recent criminal acts against University of Virginia students on or near Grounds are prompting new enhancements to the University's already robust safety programs.
Leonard Sandridge, U.Va.'s executive vice president and chief operating officer, sent an e-mail to students, faculty and staff on Thursday, noting that most of the incidents have occurred between midnight and daybreak at or near the Corner and other neighborhoods adjacent to the University.
"We are all very concerned by the number of incidents and by the proximity to the Grounds, although we are encouraged by the fact that students are reporting incidents more often and more quickly," he wrote.
He outlined several new safety measures.
Sandridge said University and Charlottesville police have increased their uniformed and plainclothes patrols in areas near Grounds, especially on weekends.
He noted that SafeRide has become popular with students, but "unfortunately, the high use has affected SafeRide's efficiency." Beginning Oct. 28, three more phone lines and an additional dispatcher will help students connect with SafeRide more easily.
Also on Oct. 28, University buses will extend Thursday service, which currently ends at 12:30 a.m. Buses will begin running on the Northline and Outer U-Loop from 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday, in addition to Friday and Saturday.
Sandridge encouraged the University community to contact the University Security and General Safety Committee to report unsafe conditions. "Most recently, the committee took steps to improve lighting around the Kellogg residence hall after students reported concerns about dimly lit areas," he said. Concerns can be sent to Marge Sidebottom, director of emergency preparedness, who chairs the committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A rape aggression defense class will be offered for women beginning Nov. 9 at the North Grounds Recreation Center. For information or to register, contact Melissa Fielding of University Police, email@example.com. In addition, University Police offer seminars, self-defense classes, building security evaluations and other special safety programs.
"While Charlottesville is a relatively safe area, there are many who find the openness of a college campus an easy target," Sandridge wrote. "I urge you to take responsibility for your own safety, to look out for the safety of your friends and classmates, and to immediately call 911 if you are feeling threatened."