UC Berkeley News


Put down that iPod and listen up!
Campus police urge late-night scholars to keep their eyes and ears open, and to take advantage of shuttle and escort services

| 19 September 2007

To some in the Berkeley community, town and gown alike, recent reports of thefts and robberies on and near the campus, some involving weapons, suggest a mini-crime wave in the making.

UC Police Chief Victoria Harrison, in a memo to the campus community late last week, characterized this "surge" as "unusual" - even by the standards of a community that sees a predictable upswing in crimes against persons and property each fall as students return to campus.

(Detailed information about the recent incidents is online at police.berkeley.edu/crimealerts/2007/index.html.)

Both UCPD and the City of Berkeley, said Harrison (who is also associate vice chancellor for public safety), "are aware of the problem and are taking extra measures in response," including an increase in uniformed and plainclothes patrols. Additionally, she wrote, "Ten of the 22 robberies that have occurred in 2007 in our jurisdiction have been solved. Overall, 65 percent of the violent crimes on and around the campus have been cleared, which is well over the national average (46 percent in 2005)."

As encouraging as these after-the-fact statistics may be, the best way to avoid becoming one of them is to avoid becoming a crime victim in the first place. Chief Harrison is taking the heightened level of attention being paid to campus-area crime as an opportunity to remind everyone to use effective "personal crime-prevention strategies."

Some of these are commonsensical, requiring only minimal behavior modification: Don't wear earphones or talk on a cellphone late at night, for example; carry your laptop in a book bag or backpack rather than an "obvious" laptop case. Others take advantage of campus services aimed at reducing the risk of becoming a crime victim, known collectively as UCPD's Night Safety Services:

. The BearWALK program will send a uniformed, trained UCPD Community Service Officer to meet you (usually within 15 to 20 minutes) and walk with you to any destination within a four- or five-block radius of the campus. Call 642-WALK?/?642-9255 between dusk and 1:45 a.m.

. Night Safety Shuttles travel to BART or the southside residence halls; the Ride-to-Your-Door lines let you ride all the way home within service-area boundaries. Call 642-WALK?/?642-9255 to find out when the next shuttle stops near you.

. Owl Service operates after 3 a.m., when UCPD offers van pick-up and drop-off services from door to door. Call 642-6760 prior to 5:45 a.m. if you require this service.

If you're unable to use these Night Safety Services, Harrison recommends that you try to walk with others on well-lit and well-traveled routes (identified on the Night Safety Map at police.berkeley.edu/PDFs/NightMap.pdf).

Finally, be sure to program the UCPD emergency number (510-642-3333) into your cellphone to reduce the time needed to dispatch emergency responders, should it become necessary. The non-emergency number you should use to report suspicious individuals or activities to campus police is 642-6760.

The full text of Chief Harrison's memo to the campus community is archived at newscenter.berkeley.edu/goto/vhmemo.

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