HD42 - Interim Report: Study on Campus Safety

Executive Summary:
During the 2004 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Delegate Phillip A. Hamilton introduced House Joint Resolution 122 (HJR 122), which directed the Crime Commission to study campus safety at Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education. Specifically, the resolution directs the Commission to examine the following areas: (i) current Virginia policies, procedures and programs used to promote safety at institutions of higher education; (ii) nature of criminal offenses at Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education; (iii) use of best practices or models for campus safety nationally; and, (iv) need to develop statewide procedures to ensure the dissemination of information pertaining to best practices for campus safety to Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education.

In spring 2004, Crime Commission staff began a study pursuant to HJR 122. Due to the expansive scope of the study mandate, the study was extended from one year to two years. The first year of the study focused primarily on colleges and universities (“colleges”) with an official police department. The second year of the study will continue to focus on colleges with police departments, as well as, colleges with security and public safety departments (“security departments”).

In the first year, Crime Commission staff focused on the collection of information from Virginia colleges with police departments. A literature review was conducted to gain an understanding of campus safety issues and models. Several visits to college campuses were made to understand the operations of campus police departments. Additionally, many campus crime statistics were requested, collected and compiled. A detailed survey was also developed and disseminated to each campus police department in the Commonwealth. The survey was used to gather information regarding each campus police department’s budget, personnel, training, equipment, administrative relations and campus demographics. Finally, a Crime Commission Campus Safety Task Force was created to aid in the formulation of best practice recommendations.