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

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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.


  • John Johnson

    Phew! That’s a relief. I thought I was the only person who heard the ‘air raid’ sirens. It was very, VERY loud in my home. Ps: It went off 4 times during a 30 minutes period, I think it was between 2:00-2:30 AM.

  • R Sweeney

    If these sirens is going to go off everytime an armed criminal heads into the VCU area, they better keep them well lubricated so they don’t wear out prematurely.

  • John Johnson

    Well, I can deifintely attest that it’s audible — wowee!! Damn near broke my ear drums, scared the crap out of me too (it was 2 A.M….) because I didn’t know why I was hearing it.

    I think it’s be better if there were a voice announcement to go along with it.

  • Scott

    I guarantee you the same people that are complaining about this, would also complain if VCU had not alerted people to the situation. Lose-lose!

  • Gillbaby

    I commend VCU for for being proactive in this situation. It could have saved lives if the perps would have come on campus.

Comments are closed.

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