August 26, 2005
With UVA students cracking the books again, that means an influx of people and problems to the University area. Now there is a new measure to keep those students safe. Charlottesville Police and UVA Police have joined forces to begin new saturation patrols in and around the University area. The idea behind these patrols is to bring more officers to the street where crimes and problems take place.
City and UVA officers are hitting the streets tonight under a new plan. In response to several problems, officials designed three specific combination patrols to be both proactive and reactive to many situations.
"Last year we had some robberies and assaults on Wertland Street which is what that two-officer patrol is there for. That is mainly a crime prevention patrol through there," said Lt. Gary Pleasants of the Charlottesville Police Department.
The three patrol areas focus on Wertland Street, the Corner, and the Rugby Road and Grady Avenue area, called party patrol. The patrols will run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at peak hours for student activities.
"It gives us the opportunity to focus on areas that may be problem areas because of the number of people or criminal incidents," said UVA Police Captain Michael Campbell.
Both agencies hope this will be an effective way to work together while keeping the student population safe.
"We can work together in other areas and different things. And we'll see as it goes as to how well this works and what it can expand into," said Pleasants.
"We want to be active in a way that is both active and efficient and we felt like putting officers together would do this," said Campbell.
The ultimate goal is simple.
"The idea is to create a safer environment for the students and other people in the areas around the University," said Campbell.
The program is only in its infancy, having started yesterday. After some time, both agencies will review the failures and successes of the program, and determine if it is going to continue. Police say most of the patrols are scheduled with on-duty officers, meaning limited expenses to taxpayers.