Charlottesville Police responded to a prowling incident on the 300 block of 14th St. NW at 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to a community alert sent Wednesday by Timothy Longo, vice president for security and safety and chief of the University Police Department.
According to the report, CPD detectives are investigating a male subject who was believed to have been following a young woman in the area. The suspect is described as approximately 40 years old, 5 foot 8 inches to 6 foot 1 inch in height and 200 to 225 pounds. The suspect’s hair was pulled back and he was wearing a blue button-down shirt and long khaki pants.
He is believed to be operating an older model gold Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck with Virginia tags EHS O6.
This is the ninth community alert sent to the community since the beginning of the fall semester, and the first instance of prowling. Less than five days ago, on Saturday, an aggravated assault was reported on Rugby Road. Five of these alerts have been shots fired. On Sept. 4, an innocent bystander was struck by a bullet which entered a bathroom wall at Boylan Heights.
“Community alerts” are shared with the University community when there is sufficient and timely information that can be released to the community without compromising any on-going investigations. “Timely warnings” are sent when a threat poses an “on-going threat” to the safety of the community.
Despite the University’s annual Fire Safety and Security report released Tuesday showing a reduction in crime rates for the 2020 year, students, parents and community members have expressed concern over safety at the University as the fall 2021 semester is underway.
University President Jim Ryan noted community health safety as one of his priorities in an interview with the Cavalier Daily Sept. 23. On Tuesday, UPD announced a new unit called the Community Oriented Policing Squad — or “COPS” — which will focus on increasing safety near the Corner and in neighborhoods closest to Grounds.
The COPS unit includes four officers who will patrol Thursday through Saturday between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., and will set aside Wednesdays to meet with student groups, business owners and community stakeholders.
The general public may opt-in to receive emergency alerts — urgent warnings of an imminent threat on Grounds — by texting “UVA” to 226787.
Anyone with information about this incident, the suspect or the described vehicle is encouraged to call 911.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that the general public and U.Va. community could opt-in to receive community alerts and timely warnings. In fact, community alerts and timely warnings are not sent to the general public, who instead may opt-in to receive Emergency Alerts, which warn of an imminent threat on Grounds. The article has been updated to reflect this information.