VCU’s Upgraded Security Systems Help Track, Prevent Crimes

VCU installed surveillance cameras, built a new safety department headquarters and upgraded access control and visitor management systems to improve security.

When Chief John Venuti arrived at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2010, the security technology on campus was old and outdated. So, in addition to changing the culture of VCUPD, the chief pushed for many technological upgrades.

“He came to me when he could tell that I was quite frustrated with some of the things that were happening to our people, and he said he would help me by investing significantly in a surveillance system so I could address a lot of the issues we have,” says VCU President Dr. Michael Rao. “[Security cameras] are really good at helping us figure out who shouldn’t be on campus and who is causing us problems. Once the word gets out that these surveillance mechanisms are there, a lot of [the criminal activity] stops.”

RELATED: How an Urban University Police Department Changed Its Culture

With the upgraded video surveillance system, investigators now have hundreds of new, high-resolution cameras that have helped solve crimes. In fact, since the inception of the upgraded system in the 2013-2014 academic year, there have been over 775 instances where the cameras substantially assisted an investigation or captured evidentiary footage.

Additionally, Venuti successfully lobbied for dorm access control and security improvements, having the university issue its residents proximity cards and install a visitor management system. In fact, all of VCU’s access system is transitioning to CBORD with the goal of better technology integration.

Another improvement includes the building of new department headquarters, which is scheduled to open early in 2016. VCUPD has also adopted the same CAD and records management systems as the city of Richmond.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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