Crime Free Schools

Recent polls have shown that crime is a major issue facing America today. People fear for the safety of themselves and their families. Juveniles are committing more crimes and the nature of those crimes has become more violent and serious. Whereas two young persons used to settle disputes with fists, now it is likely to be with guns or knives. No area, including our schools, is completely free from the increased violence that permeates society today. Guns, drugs, robberies, assaults on teachers and students, and yes, even murder. These are some of the crimes that we have seen in recent years in schools in the Tidewater area and throughout our country. Suffolk, like other areas, has not been immune from some of these crimes.

In an attempt to combat these problems, in 1995, C. Phillips "Phil" Ferguson instituted a Crime Free Schools Program at no additional cost to taxpayers. The purpose of this program is for this office to work with the schools in a cooperative effort to help ensure the safety of students, teachers, bus drivers, and other school personnel.

Program Focuses



Prevention


First and foremost, we must prevent crime in the schools. In that regard, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office works with parents, school administrators, teachers and law enforcement officers in establishing crime prevention and education programs in the schools. In the last year alone, hundreds of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students came to Suffolk Circuit Court and witnessed actual trials, sentencing proceedings, and revocation hearings. This allowed these students to witness firsthand the consequences of becoming involved in criminal activity.

Assistance


The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is available to give advice and assistance on criminal law legal issues, procedures, and evidence gathering to school administrators, teachers, law enforcement officials and other school personnel.

Prosecution


The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office swiftly and surely prosecute those persons who choose to engage in criminal activity within the schools or on school property or school buses. This office automatically prosecutes all crimes that occur in or on school property. Further, school personnel who are witnesses will be put on call when possible so as to minimize the amount of time they will have to be in court.

Minimizing School-Related Crime


It is the hope and belief of C. Phillips "Phil" Ferguson that by this office working together with school officials, law enforcement officers and parents, we can be successful in minimizing school-related crime and having a positive and safe learning environment for our children.