The return to more normal campus operations at West Virginia University following COVID-19 restrictions in the previous year is reflected in the latest Clery Act report, showing increased crime reporting for 2021 in many categories.
“This comes as no surprise given how few people were on campus in 2020,” University Police Chief Sherry St. Clair said. “What we’re dealing with now are the continuing aftereffects of the pandemic, but we have seen positive results from increased campus educational efforts and community safety initiatives.”
For example, the University now employs Campus Safety Officers who provide security functions alongside sworn officers as part of an enhanced community policing approach. The Public Safety Advisory Committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and community members also partners with the University Police Department.
Additionally, security cameras have been added to critical locations on campus, officers have undergone active shooter training and additional investments have been made in training tools designed to help officers learn to de-escalate situations effectively.
The University also recently updated safety.wvu.edu to improve website navigation and better align topics with resources, including videos featuring campus experts. “I Will,” a new sexual assault awareness and prevention campaign, launches in early October in partnership with the Student Government Association and the Divisions of Student Life and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
A summary of crime and fire safety on the Morgantown campus, the annual Clery Act report covers the number of reported crimes, as defined in the Clery Act, but not investigation outcomes.
The University publishes the report each year in accordance with the federal Clery Act. Requests for paper copies can be submitted by phone at 304-293-3136, or by mail to 992 Elmer Prince Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506-3136.
Increases were also reported for crimes that are not required to be included in the Clery Act report, specifically cybersecurity crimes involving fraud and attempted extortion.
“To help avoid these situations, please be smart when interacting with others online,” St. Clair advised. “Also, be careful when interacting with others online and when clicking on unknown links or sending personal information through texts, emails or social media apps.”
Suspicious emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.
Suspicious activities should be reported by calling 911 or through the LiveSafe app. All students are automatically signed up for WVU Alert to receive urgent messages from the University. Additional safety information is available through the WVU Safety and Wellness Facebook page and @WVUsafety on Twitter.
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