Safety first in the NRV

Christiansburg, Va — The Hub: The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office serves Montgomery County, the Town of Christiansburg and Blacksburg, and the Virginia Tech Campus. Photo:  Mongomery County VA website
Montgomery County hoping to keep the New River Valley community safe.
By Denashia Dunnaville      October 7, 2019

Montgomery County implementing policies to keep the New River Valley community safe. If residents find themselves in dangerous situations, there is a new way to contact 9-1-1 emergency services. Also, the sheriff’s department has safe places for individuals to conduct exchanges.

The New River Valley Emergency Communication Authority (NRV911) recently implemented Text-to-911 technology. It allows individuals to report emergencies, who are in dangerous situations and cannot safely call 9-1-1. The new service also benefits those who are deaf, hearing impaired, or have a speech impediment.

Calling 9-1-1 may still be the best way to report an emergency, but the texting service allows a new form of communication with the police department. If you plan on using the service, be sure to provide your exact location and a brief, concise description of your emergency.

The new program may prove to be beneficial to the New River Valley especially since the area is experiencing a crime increase. According to the Virginia State Police 2018 Crime Publication, crime is down in the state of Virginia. However, violent crimes increased in the New River Valley. Violent crimes went up by 10.5 percent from 2017.

While the crime rate did increase in the New River Valley, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is hoping to decrease some crime with “safe exchange zones”.

“Safe exchange zones” are meant to keep people safe when meeting buyers and sellers from online websites like Facebook or Craigslist. These safe exchange zones are meant to prevent theft, fraud, or the more extreme dangers that could be possible when meeting a stranger. The dangers that come with online transactions are all too common. In 2015, one Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville student was found dead after attempting to sell his car on Craigslist.

The zones are lit up and monitored by cameras 24 hours a day. This allows online transactions to occur at any time of the day and can ensure both parties meet in a place that prevents potentially vulnerable situations. The exchange zones are also used for child custody drop-offs. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is considering introducing more ‘safe exchange zones’ because it is already proving to be beneficial in Christiansburg.

As for now, there is work being done to ensure residents in the New River Valley live in a safe area. Hopefully, the New River Valley will see a decrease in crime, with the new texting service and the exchange zones, by the time the 2019 Virginia State Police Crime Publication is released.

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