We are one month into the new semester, and in addition to monitoring the continuing pandemic, a number of recent incidents have sharpened our focus on safety and security. Most of the recent community alerts you have received referenced incidents occurring off Grounds, close to where many of you live and socialize. One incident occurred on the West Range earlier this week.
In recent weeks, the University has worked with the community to address safety issues in off-Grounds areas, including collaborating closely with the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) and increasing personnel in areas that are jointly patrolled by the University Police Department (UPD) and CPD. We are also working to expand Safe Ride access and are increasing the presence of Ambassadors at key locations. Additionally, we have provided crime-prevention training opportunities for students. We will remain vigilant to safety concerns and will inform you when we become aware of any incidents. We remain committed to doing all we can to support your safety and well-being.
We ask for your help as well. While the Grounds and surrounding area remain relatively safe, the University and larger Charlottesville area are very open. Like many cities of its size, Charlottesville is not immune to criminal acts and individuals seeking to do harm. As part of the larger Charlottesville community, our safety strategy needs to encompass all of our efforts. Below we provide important reminders and resources to assist in this effort.
Important Reminders and Resources
- If in doubt, call 911. Whether you need help or something just seems “off,” do not hesitate to call 911. When UPD officers respond, they will focus on your safety and well-being.
- Please do not walk alone after dark. Instead, use one of these options:
- Ask an Ambassador to walk you home. Trained and screened through background checks, Ambassadors provided approximately 1,700 walking escorts last semester. They are stationed in areas around the Corner, including at 14th & Wertland. As of this week, at least one is stationed on Beta Bridge in the evenings, and we are working to expand their presence in other off Grounds areas. If you would like to request a walking escort, please call the Public Safety Substation on University Avenue at 434-984-7622, extension 406.
- Call Safe Ride (434-242-1122). Remember your mask and UVA ID.
- Use Charge-a-Ride if your situation warrants. This program provides taxi service within the Charlottesville area to UVA students who find themselves in uncomfortable situations with no reliable or safe means of transportation and no money for cab fare. Students can call Yellow Cab (434-295-4131), charge the ride to UVA, and pay via the Student Information System — no questions asked.
- If you choose to use a taxi or rideshare service, remember to check the license plate and ask the driver to say your name before you enter the vehicle.
- Download the Guardian app (learn more about it in the FAQs). This app enables you to:
- invite your friends on a "virtual walk" and set a timer for your arrival (but please note, a virtual walk does not substitute for walking with others or seeking safe transport).
- call 911.
- locate University safety resources.
- send a concern or tip to UVA police, even anonymously.
- be connected by phone to resources on and off Grounds. Examples of resources include direct dialing for Safe Ride, Blue Ridge Poison Control, and the Dean-on-Call (through UPD).
- Make a plan for getting home safely before heading out for the evening. Remember that alcohol may impair your judgment and impede getting home safely. Don’t leave friends behind. Check in with them to ensure they have a plan to get home safely, too. Again, do not walk alone or let friends walk alone.
- Know about safety resources and systems at UVA. Review the recently updated Student Safety Guide.
Safety is an important part of well-being. Please use the highlighted resources as part of keeping yourself and others safe.
Robyn S. Hadley
Vice President and
Chief Student Affairs Officer
Julie I. Caruccio
Interim Dean of Students
Add these numbers to your phone contacts:
Ambassador Walking Escort: 434-984-7622, ext. 406
Safe Ride: 434-242-1122
If in doubt, call 911.