“Your Safety at NOVA” originally posted in the NOVA Police Public Safety Newsletter on October 24, 2013.
Don’t forget that you can file a report through NOVACares at www.nvcc.edu/novacares on anything that concerns or worries you.
NOVA’s campuses are extremely safe, as demonstrated by state crime statistics that show a significant drop (more than 40%) in serious crimes on campus since 2010. This progress is a
result of the hiring of additional professional officers in the past few years, a college-wide police dispatch center that operates 24/7/365, better information sharing, an aggressive community
outreach program with security oriented training brought to each campus, and increased training of our officers.
In spite of this reduced crime statistic, recent sexual assaults on or near the Annandale and Loudoun campuses remind us we may confront predators here at NOVA. In response to these crimes, NOVA Police have active on-going investigations. We have dedicated significant resources to investigate these crimes and deter future crimes. We are working closely with local law enforcement agencies. In addition to our investigations, the College has taken or is taking the following steps:
Increased officer presence at affected campuses with officers from other campuses and are patrolling the interior and exterior of the campus buildings.
Deployed electronic signs telling campus personnel to call dispatch (703) 764-5000 for police escorts to vehicles.
Working closely with local police departments and have their officers increasing their patrols in and around our campuses.
Directed Parking and Facilities personnel, along with and other College entities, to notify the Police of suspicious activity.
Installed temporary lights in selected locations.
Evaluating campus lighting to identify locations that merit new lights or the redeployment of existing lights.
Developing a self-defense class that will be brought to each campus within the next four to six weeks.
The following safeguards can help you avoid becoming a victim of an assault. By taking a few simple precautions, you can reduce the risk to yourself, and also discourage those who commit crimes. Remember — predators seek out those who appear weak and/or who are unaware of their environment.
Do not walk (or drive) with headphones or while texting.
Constantly scan your surroundings and be alert for suspicious persons. Report suspicious activity to the Police.
Try NOT to walk alone at night; walk in a group. If you must travel alone, do not take shortcuts or walk in or near alleys, poorly lighted areas, or shrubbery. If you want an escort to your vehicle, call police dispatch and an officer will be sent to your location.
Do not get into an empty elevator with a stranger. If must do ride with a stranger, stand near the control panel and if attacked, press as many of the control buttons as possible.
Do not avert your eyes. Be confident. Predators choose the weak.
If you are out late, ask a police officer or a co-worker to walk you to your car.
When approaching your vehicle, have your keys in hand so you can open the car door without delay and check the back seat before getting in.
Always lock your doors when driving, and even when just sitting in your car.
In the event you are attacked, take the following steps:
Be verbally assertive.
Do not avert your eyes. Try to remember as much as you can about the assailant’s race, face (eye color, facial hair), weight, height, hair color, speech (accent, stutter), clothing, jewelry, scars/tattoos and direction of travel. The police will need this information.
Distract or divert the assailant, then flee. Run toward people or an open building.
Scream loudly and keep it up to attract attention and help from people near you.
Notify the Police as soon as possible and if there are witnesses, ask them to stay until police arrive. It is critical you report the crime, with as many details about the suspect, to police to allow us to gather all the facts about the crime, generate necessary resources and assign them to appropriate posts. If you don’t report a crime, the criminal will continue to operate without interference.
Sign up for NOVA Alerts at http://alert.nvcc.edu to receive the latest information on recent and developing public safety incidents on campus.
Review the Police/OEMP Monthly Public Safety Newsletter for safety information and listings of upcoming police training.
In order to expedite NOVA’s provision of the most appropriate and timely service to victims, please note the following points of contact and program these numbers into your cell phone:
For sexual assaults and other crimes, call the Police at (703) 764-5000.
To obtain information about sexual assault support services and victim advocacy, call Student Mental Health and Behavior Director, Connie Kirkland at (571) 422-5339.
For sexual harassment (e.g., inappropriate language and sexual discrimination), call the College’s Title IX Administrator, Therman Coles at (703) 323-3266.
One of NOVA’s best attributes is our sense of community. Caring, observant and involved students, faculty and staff, working together with the College’s professional police department, can continue to improve safety and security on our campuses.