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Additional Patrols to Start Thursday Night
University And City Police Partnering To Increase Safety

August 24, 2005 -- The University of Virginia and the City of Charlottesville police departments will conduct regular joint foot and cruiser patrols near the University starting Thursday.

“These patrols will enhance police presence and increase safety through more visibility of officers, providing a safer environment off-Grounds,” said Paul E. Norris Jr., University of Virginia chief of police.

The patrols, set for every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night beginning this weekend, had been under discussion between the two departments, especially after several students were assaulted near University Grounds last year.

There will be two foot patrols, with one officer from each department working in pairs. One patrol will operate from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Wertland Street from 14th to 10th streets and north to Page Street. The second foot patrol will operate from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the Corner, from 14th Street to Chancellor Street and University Avenue.

There will also be a two-officer cruiser patrol from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on University Avenue to Grady Avenue and Rugby Road. Norris said the cruiser patrol would be responding to, among others, complaints of loud parties.

The joint effort “sends an important message to students [and the community] that the two departments are collaborating to provide a safe environment,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo.

Wertland Street, where police will patrol on foot, has been the scene of several recent assaults and purse snatchings, Longo said. The officers also will address unsafe situations, Longo said, citing a recent party that spilled into the street and blocked the right of way.

Having the specific patrols in these areas will free up city police officers to answer calls in other neighborhoods, as well as maintaining police visibility in late night and early morning hours.

Also, the University Police Department has altered the hours of availability of its Safe Rides program on weekends, to correspond with expanded University Transit System bus service during that time.

The Safe Rides program, which offers free rides within a mile of Newcomb Hall to University students who have safety concerns, will operate from midnight to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The new weekend hours are the result of the University bus service extending its hours until 3 a.m. on those mornings; buses will run every 15 minutes.

At the same time, University Police security officers who would have driven the Safe Ride vans during those hours will conduct foot patrols from Beta Bridge to University Avenue and from Alderman Library to the Corner, according to University Police Captain Quenton E. Trice.

The changes in the Safe Ride program emerged from a joint agreement with the University Police, the Student Council, the Dean of Students and the Department of Parking and Transportation, Trice said.

Rebecca White, director of Parking and Transportation, said there will be a year-long pilot project studying the use of early morning buses on weekends. 

“After engaging in some meaningful conversations with our students in reference to the operation of the Safe Ride program, U.Va. Police decided to review the service being provided with the hope of improving Safe Ride,” Norris said. “Parking and Transportation was looking at the need for a late-night bus service, so we worked together on a plan that would eliminate a duplication of service as much as possible without decreasing the safety of our students.”

More information about the Safe Rides program is at http://www.virginia.edu/uvapolice//saferide.htm.

Contact: Matt Kelly, (434) 924-7291

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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