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Residents react to first-ever overnight VCU siren for crime alert

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) — Some described it as a tornado warning, while others said it sounded like a blitz during World War II.

Regardless of what people thought it sounded like, the noise that blared across VCU’s campus in downtown Richmond late Saturday night was the University’s Emergency Siren.

According to VCU police, the siren was activated after an officer spotted two suspects of an armed robbery heading into the direction of campus.

Mike Kelly, a spokesman with the VCU Police, said the siren is the university’s highest form of an alert and that it has only been activated twice before – once for a fire at VCU’s hospital in 2011 and then during a tornado warning in 2012.

But the Saturday night incident was the first time it was used because of a crime and for students it came with mixed reviews.

“It was the right decision,” Brenae Carr said.

Carr said she and her friends went inside when the alarm began to ring.

“A lot of people didn’t go back inside but me and my friends did,” Carr said.

But Grace Gormanlove said the noise caused panic with many not knowing what to do.

“I think it would cause panic and chaos-I don’t think it was right no,” Gormanlove said.

VCU says they routinely conduct tests of system and last implemented a campus wide drill on Sept. 4.