RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – University president Michael and police chief John Venuti held a news conference Tuesday morning after a slew of recent crimes on or near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.
There were two armed robberies on and near the Monroe Park Campus Monday, followed by four other robberies and the brandishing of a firearm. [RELATED: VCU community on alert, six crimes on and near campus]
Rao said during the news conference that he plans to meet with Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood and Mayor Dwight Jones about how to tackle the problem. In fact, Rao said that he has been in touch with the mayor –- and has Jones’ cell phone number.
“I’m looking forward to getting together with the mayor and can’t wait to talk about our concerns and how disheveling and upsetting this is to have something like this in and around our campus,” Rao said. “VCU is a big part of what makes Richmond such a vibrant learning environment.”
Rao also said he wants to ensure all law enforcement are working together to make sure the campus is the safest it can possibly be.
Rao said in an earlier message to the campus that he found the robbery-related crimes disturbing and that Richmond police were investigating five of the incidents, while VCU police were investigating the incident that happened on campus. [BONUS: Watch portions of the news conference on WTVR.com]
“What happened last night is untenable. I meet with Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer and Police Chief today, and with Mayor Jones tomorrow. I will emphasize my concern for the continued need for a strong partnership between VCU and the city to prevent crime and protect the more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff who live and work on and near our campuses,” wrote Rao. [BONUS: Read complete letter from VCU president on 'safety issues']
Rao also reiterated that safety is a top priority for the school — and that does have 92 campus police officers, the largest university police force in Virginia. He also said the school has recently stepped up patrols on campus.
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