The death of second-year student Hannah Graham has many discussing student safety on and around the Grounds. The following is a brief overview of some of the security measures and resources the University has in place and what’s being done to improve safety at UVA and in the surrounding community.
Blue Light Emergency Phones
There are more than 500 blue light phones on Grounds, all connecting directly to the University Police Department. When the emergency button is pushed, the location is immediately transmitted and if the caller is unable to speak, an officer is immediately dispatched to the site.
The University Police Department serves an average daily population of 40,000, patrolling the University by foot, car, bicycle and motorcycle. The UPD’s 140 employees include 59 sworn police officers and 62 security officers.
A 2012 study of lighting on Grounds resulted in numerous upgrades to lighting, better distribution, and installation of additional light in areas that needed it.
Sirens, email and text messages, video screens in public areas and notifications on TV, radio and University websites warn of incidents or imminent events. Additionally the police department sends timely warnings to the University community whenever certain crimes are committed on or near the Grounds, with information about the prevention of similar crimes.
Four “SafeRide” vans provide daily door-to-door transportation for students who would otherwise have to walk alone at night after bus service ends.
There are more than 600 security cameras around UVA.
“Safety for everyone—women and men alike—is not achievable through a single event or program. It relies on several pieces working together—personal accountability, bystander intervention and community support.”
—Teresa Sullivan, UVA President
A recently formed Safety Working Group is conducting a comprehensive review and analysis of safety on Grounds. Chaired by Executive Vice President and COO Pat Hogan and comprising students, faculty, staff and administrators from across the University, the group will recommend specific, actionable measures to enhance safety.
A Community Safety Advisory Group has been also been formed to strengthen cooperation between the University and the surrounding community. Representatives from UVA, the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are focused on exploring initiatives that include a public-safety assessment to identify opportunities to expand the use of security cameras and install additional lighting in areas close to UVA. A pedestrian study will identify high-foot-traffic areas, and an analysis of crime data will identify potential “hot spots.”
“The University looks forward to partnering with the city and county as we begin to discuss what additional measures can be taken to improve the safety of the citizens in the region,” says Hogan. “We have an important task ahead of us, and I know we are all eager to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”