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VCU steps up security, adds patrols as school begins

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- VCU Police Chief John Venuti emphasizes his department can't do the job of keeping students safe by themselves.

For the upcoming year, the VCU Police Department is enlisting the help of partner agencies like the Richmond Police Department and Virginia State Police to be highly visible on campus.

Chief Venuti also said perception is reality and that if a student doesn't feel safe, then his department isn't doing a good job.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Venuti told the media police will have three security vehicles patrolling the evening hours on the Monroe Park campus and one on the MCV campus.

Officials said upgrades to video security systems will help deter crime and make it easier for police to identify lawbreakers.

In addition, VCU is partnering with Live Safe, a mobile app that lets students exchange information about crime quickly with the police department. The mobile app is another way technology is helping out, along with the existing text alerts.

VCU sent out an alert in early November last year about an armed robbery near the Monroe Park campus telling students and faculty to avoid the area.

It was part of a series of robberies around the same time last year. And surveillance video helped police ID three people involved in a VCU student's beating and robbery this past August.

Officers are also being assigned to shifts the chief said will allow for maximum manpower when the majority of crimes happen.

Many of the returning students CBS 6 News talked with said they do feel safe, which matches a poll recently taken by VCU.