A Few Tips on Suspicious Packages

by Fernando Quintero

In light of the latest Unabomber strike in Sacramento and the recent explosion in Oklahoma City, members of the Berkeley campus are encouraged to be cautious when handling mail and to report suspicious items to the campus police.

Police Capt. Bill Foley, who for 13 years has investigated two Unabomb attacks on campus in the 1980s and has worked with federal investigators on some of the other bombings, said people should be aware that the number of false bomb threats received on the Berkeley campus typically increases following highly-publicized bombings.

However, every threat and each suspicious package is taken very seriously by campus police.

"The most important thing to keep in mind is that if a package looks suspicious, do not open or move it and do call the police," said Foley.

Foley said staff and faculty should keep in mind the following guidelines:

o A "suspicious" package would include unexpected deliveries; packages misaddressed or sent to a generic title instead of an individual; packages with excessive stamp postage as opposed to metered postage; items having an unrecognizable or no return address or a discoloration in the packaging caused by some sort of leak; or packages wrapped using string or filament tape and that have only one way to open them.

o Report any bomb threat or suspicious package delivered to your department or unit to the campus police. Advise your designated building coordinator that you have notified the police.

o Campus police will determine whether a building or site should be evacuated after assessing a bomb threat or suspicious package. The police have sole authority to evacuate buildings. No unit, department or building administrator may contradict the decision of the police.

For more information about bomb threat procedures and safety precautions, including specific information on how to identify suspicious packages and handle telephone bomb threats, contact the Office of Emergency Prepared-

ness at 642-9036.

An electronic memo on bomb threat guidelines is posted on the Public Safety and Transportation section of the Berkeley gopher under "Emergency Preparedness."


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail berkeleyan@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.