Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. It is also an educational institution leading the way with its strategic focus on safety and security. The University is expanding its partnership with G4S Secure Solutions after seeing success with an initial, limited partnership.
G4S security officers support the VCU Police Department in less critical roles at various locations, freeing up the VCU officers to work in specific areas. While the partnership has added financial saving, perhaps the most significant benefits are new efficiencies and flexibility to the safety and security program.
VCU’s downtown Richmond, Virginia campuses lack the traditional borders and boundaries found at other schools. Therefore, VCU police has jurisdiction over several blocks into the surrounding neighborhoods. These challenges have been met with an energetic focus on innovation, transparency and communication initiatives.
After a series of high profile crimes near campus in 2012, VCU reached out to G4S. G4S now provides a more visible security presence at night through campus patrols, support of VCU officers and a constant presence with well-marked security vehicles.
“The addition of G4S bicycle patrols was a direct response to a VCU semiannual perception of safety survey,” said Chief Venuti. “Our community told us they feel safest when they see officers on bicycles. We listened to their comments and responded.”
The partnership with G4S has been a success from a variety of measurements including financial savings, operational efficiencies, a highly visible safety and security presence on campus and a drop in robbery statistics.
By outsourcing some of its policing needs with G4S, VCU is increasing a security presence and finding success within its challenging budgetary landscape. By outsourcing some of its security needs, the university is projecting it will save about $30,000 per year.
This initiative as part of a comprehensive and robust safety and security operation is having a positive impact on students and helping to combat crime. In a fall 2014 perception of safety survey by VCU, 96% of students, faculty and staff reported that they feel “safe” or “very safe” on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus and at the VCU Medical Center. And in the 2013-2014 academic year, VCU saw a significant drop in robberies at its two campuses compared to the previous academic year.