Enhancing Safety On Campus and In the Community

Picture of the University of California sign

The UC Berkeley campus is located in a densely-populated part of the Bay Area. We make every effort to support our students and the broader campus community, but the reality is that theft and other crimes can occur on campus and in the surrounding community.

As is the case in many cities, certain crimes are on the rise. In response, we are working with students, faculty, staff, parents, city officials, and the broader community to help enhance safety on and around campus. 

Below are our current safety efforts, followed by some guidelines for students and campus visitors.

How we work together

Our campus is an integral part of the broader City of Berkeley so deterring and responding to crimes involves partnering with city leaders and departments. The University of California Police Department (UCPD) works closely with our colleagues in the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) to enhance public safety, mitigate risks to the community, and respond to concerns from constituents. We also work with other police departments in neighboring cities such as Oakland, Emeryville, and Albany. UCPD is responsible for responding to the main campus and university properties, while BPD is responsible for crimes that occur on city property bordering our campus and off campus in adjacent neighborhoods. The two police departments collaborate closely when crimes cross jurisdictions and share information and knowledge to assist each other in supporting public safety and crime prevention programs. Regardless of one’s location, remember that during an emergency, dial 911, and the 911 operator will send the appropriate police department.

Security on and off campus

The University has recently re-examined its enhanced security efforts — such as key card access to buildings, surveillance cameras, and dedicated on-site staff. We are educating students on safety best practices to support affirmative consent, build a stronger culture of bystander intervention, and to mitigate things like tailgating (when strangers follow university affiliates into a secured building like a residence hall) and theft.

The City’s Police Department offers an array of support to residents of the neighborhoods that many of our students, staff, and faculty call home. Their Community Liaisons program helps connect officers with students and others who want to be proactive about crime prevention. Learn more about the Berkeley PD community engagement strategies.

Current and new UCPD safety efforts

Recruiting and hiring

UCPD is continuing to hire uniformed police officers and plans to increase staffing to at least 100 Community Service Officers (trained students employed directly by UCPD). During the academic year, Community Service Officers also provide BearWalk services (a free walking escort).

  • As of January 2024, have 47 sworn officers, and four new recruits set to join the police academy in February. We are continuing to hire.
  • In the first full month of the fall 2023 semester, we have grown our Community Service Officers from 45 to 58 and plan on expanding our Community Service Officers to 100 in the future.

Night safety services

Students have access to options like our night safety programs, including BearWALK (dusk to 3:00 a.m.), a Night Shuttle (7:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.),  and  Door-to-Door Shuttle service (3:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.).

We are aware that there have been reports of issues regarding waiting and response times for night safety services during peak hours. We are continually evaluating this matter and determining how best to staff and redeploy resources to reduce wait times and serve our students better.

We are also aware that there have been safety incidents during daylight hours. We are working closely with our parterns to address the root cause and are also working to expand our service hours for programs like our Residential Safety Ambassadors.

Partnering with the City of Berkeley / Community relations

We are committed to building trusting relationships with our campus and surrounding community. To help prevent crime, UCPD coordinates with campus and community resources to maximize the effectiveness of various public safety and security policies, programs, systems, and technologies. You can also read more about the UC systemwide approaches.

  • Public safety responders (non-uniform responses)/Responding to non-criminal violations: We are developing a new public safety responders role to respond to non-criminal rules violations (such as public nuisances) and campus lockout requests. This is still in the exploration and planning stage, evaluating how this would work on the Berkeley campus. We do have real-world examples showing the effectiveness of non-uniformed, unarmed response in areas such as mental health crises, in some cases diverting the situation away from mental health detention.
  • Relationships with the City of Berkeley: The City of Berkeley surrounds our campus; therefore, we work closely with our city partners to make our community safer. We have joint patrols with BPD, such as when there are events or trends in certain crimes to address. 
  • Relationships with the City of Albany and City of Emeryville: Similar to how we partner with the City Berkeley, we partner with the City of Albany, which surrounds University Village, and the City of Emeryville, which is where the Intersection Apartments is located.
  • Collaborating with parents and families: We have, and will continue to host in the future, events such as Cal Parents Facebook Live community meetings with parents/families, Berkeley PD, and others. In turn, we ask parents and caregivers to help us emphasize to students the importance of following safety best practices, such as addressing or mitigating tailgating (i.e., allowing someone to enter behind you that you don’t know) into secured campus buildings.
  • Community relations: We understand that many historically disenfranchised communities may have faced discrimination and harassment from police departments. We are taking steps to strengthen healthy relationships between our campus safety professionals and our diverse campus communities. For example, our Community Service Officer program includes a diverse array of our student community, and you may notice them tabling on Sproul Plaza for safety information sessions and recruiting drives—stop by to say hello.

Safety best practices

Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. We educate and encourage our students to utilize on-and-off-campus resources and follow safety best practices, including:

  • Remain aware of one’s surroundings at all times on and around campus.

    • Don’t use a phone, earbuds, or electronics while walking.

  • Be aware of one’s friends; look out for each other. Offer to walk in groups and be alert to the safety of one’s neighbors.

  • Notice (and point out to friends) the Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone stations around campus. These can be used to notify UCPD if assistance is needed.

  • Use Night Safety Services. Programs include escorted walking and a safety shuttle. 

  • Make sure to lock doors and close windows.

    • When entering or leaving a residential building, please fully close doors and do not allow people you do not know to enter behind you or hold the door open for unknown persons. If someone does “tailgate” behind you, please notify the Residential Safety Ambassadors (RSAs) at your residence hall or call UCPD.  

    • Please model this safety behavior by having your Cal 1 Card (i.e., student ID) ready. 

    • Only residents and their invited guests are allowed entry into residence halls.

Sign-up for WarnMe/Everbridge text messages, UC Berkeley's alerting and warning service (campus affiliates are automatically signed up via email). For more information on timely warnings and emergency notifications sent through WarnMe, please visit the website for the Clery Division

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

 What safety and security roles do you have on campus?

At Berkeley we have a holistic approach to enhancing the safety and security of our campus community and work to deploy the right resources to the right situation. These roles work in concert with each other; all of our employees are trained to request support as needed. Below is a brief overview of the types of roles we have on our campus.

  • Sworn Police Officers - Among the most recognized of our Sworn Police Officers are those from the patrol bureau, armed and uniformed peace officers directly responsible for public safety and law enforcement services on campus. Our officers undergo rigorous training above and beyond what standard police departments require to serve the unique needs of a university environment. For example, all officers receive 40 hours of crisis intervention around mental health issues, and all officers get periodic training on implicit bias management, autism awareness, and de-escalation.

  • Security Patrol Officers - Full-time, non-sworn career employees of UCPD. Security Patrol Officers wear a police-style uniform and provide high-profile safety services on campus including non-confrontational patrol, premise security and other support tasks for the police department.

  • Public Safety Responders - We are developing a new public safety responder role to respond to non-criminal rules violations (such as public nuisances) and campus lockout requests. This is still in the exploration and planning stage, evaluating how this would work on the Berkeley campus. 

  • Campus Mobile Crisis Response - A dedicated team that provides culturally responsive trauma-informed care to students, faculty, and staff experiencing mental health crises. Their goal is to reduce the need for police and emergency medical services when possible. This team has already deployed in a “soft launch” as a proof of concept in Spring 2023. 

  • Community Service Officers - Trained students employed directly by UCPD. Community Service Officers provide a high-profile uniformed presence during the hours of darkness. Their primary duties include the BearWALK night safety escort service for students, faculty, and staff. The Community Service Officers also conduct non-confrontational security foot patrols of campus proper, and outlying campus properties such as the residential halls where they report any situation requiring a police response.

  • Residential Safety Ambassadors - Trained students directly employed by our residential halls. Safety Ambassadors are responsible for promoting and contributing to safety in the residential environment. They observe the entrance into the residence halls, report dangerous and/or suspicious activities both inside and immediately outside of the buildings to residential staff and/or UCPD as appropriate. They also seek out residential hall staff to confront inappropriate behavior and residential policy violations.

Will you hire private security guards?

Private security guards provide functions very similar to security patrol officers in particular as well as other roles we have on campus such as public safety responders, community service officers and residential safety ambassadors. All of these roles work in concert with each other to deploy the right resources to the right situation.

At times we have engaged private security guards as a temporary measure such as to give us time to hire staff on campus or as a supplement during a particularly busy time such as move-in. We have found that having safety and security personnel as part of our staff throughout the academic year allows us to best train them to our protocols and standards and better integrate them into our full network of safety and security personnel.

Has there been an increase in crime compared to prior years?

Looking at the most relevant security and fire safety data, we are seeing an increase in certain crimes compared to a five-year average. However, the data we publish illustrates the locations in which crimes are reported to have occurred, not who was involved in the incidents; the crime data does not necessarily involve students or university affiliates.

Aggravated assaults and arsons

The data shows an increase in aggravated assaults and arson. An aggravated assault is an attack that could cause great bodily harm, such as when someone uses a heavy object to try and hit someone else. An arson is a fire that has been deliberately set.

Many of these occurred in People’s Park, which closed in January 2024, and is now a construction site. Unfortunately, unhoused members of the community were often the victims of these crimes. Please remember that all campus construction sites are closed to the general public and trespassing is forbidden.

Reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment
The most current available data on sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) shows an increase in reports. SVSH is one of the most underreported incidents around the world and an increase in reports most often reflects individuals feeling more confident in reporting incidents of SVSH, not necessarily an increase in SVSH incidents occurring.

A significant portion of those are non-stranger encounters. Some of these recent metrics may be impacted by the pandemic and the subsequent return to in-person instruction. While this recent increase in reported cases is concerning, we are committed to ensuring that survivors of SVSH in our community feel supported in reporting and are aware of campus resources and reporting options. Remember — If you’ve experienced sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating/intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or invasion of privacy, please know that what happened is not your fault. As a community, we are dedicated to fostering a culture of safety, respect, and affirmative consent. Please contact the PATH to Care Center for confidential support and refer to our SVSH campus resource guides.

Thefts/Robberies

We have seen an increase in “motor vehicle thefts.” While car theft statistics remain fairly stable; thefts of motorized scooters and e-bikes are on the rise. We encourage people using motorized scooters, e-bikes, and standard bicycles to follow these theft prevention tips.

While rates of robberies decreased during the pandemic and have remained steady since, we are aware that the number of robberies (when someone has their possessions taken from them by force or threat of force) around campus and in the City of Berkeley remains alarmingly high compared to other UC campuses. The University and the City of Berkeley are fostering better communication and information sharing, and working to address this with crime mapping software to identify crime trends. We will use that information to deploy resources, investigate, and close out cases. Additionally, more sophisticated technology can make identifying and tracking perpetrators easier. We continue to encourage students to use the BearWalk services, be aware of their surroundings, and walk in groups. Be mindful about having an acquaintance walk home with you one-on-one. Traveling in groups is a better option for students, particularly at night. Remember — If you are robbed, do not attempt to fight back; instead, surrender your belongings and then get yourself to safety and call the police.

What is the campus doing regarding unhoused persons near the campus? 

The campus has invested significant resources, in partnership with the City and State, to assist unhoused community members in the neighborhoods near campus get the services, support, and housing they need. The university’s Homeless Outreach Director Ari Neuglight works with city and non-profit agencies on this urgent need. See link below for more details of the work: Full-time social worker to assist unhoused people near campus.

Ari’s work is part of a larger strategy to partner with the city and local nonprofit organizations to offer shelter and supportive services for unhoused people in the Telegraph neighborhood. 

What will People’s Park look like when the construction project is completed?

You can read more about the People’s Park housing project (and safety matters) online. This project will do more than provide apartments for more than 1,100 undergraduates. Other project elements include:  

  • Preserve and revitalize more than 60 percent of the site as public park space for the safe enjoyment of everyone.

  • Create permanent commemorations of the site’s history.

  • Permanent supportive housing for more than 100 formerly unhoused and very low-income persons.

  • Services and support for unhoused people who gathered or slept in the park during the pandemic, including:

    • A daytime drop-in center, now in its second year of operations, one block from People’s Park that provides unhoused community members a place to rest, use a bathroom, charge electronic devices, get water or prepare a meal, and meet with staff and volunteers of public and non-profit agencies that provide services such as counseling and housing navigation.

    • Interim housing with services that support a transition to permanent housing. In November 2023, offers of interim housing were extended by UC Berkeley's social worker to all 25 unhoused persons that were sleeping in People's Park on a regular basis. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with 21 of the 25 accepting these offers and successfully transitioning to indoor accommodations within days. No one was forced to relocate to temporary housing. Other shelter options were, and are still being offered to those few who chose not to relocate.

People’s Park is closed to the general public. In January 2024, the campus closed the construction site, pending resolution by the California Supreme Court of legal challenges. Access is limited to those directly involved with construction of the new housing and park space. Trespassing is prohibited. When construction of the new housing is completed, the new park space will be open to the general public.

Have there been more WarnMe alerts sent lately?

Yes, the campus has sent more WarnMe alerts than in the past. We remain committed to sharing safety information with the campus community in a timely manner.

What kinds of WarnMe alerts does the campus send?

The campus sends three types of alerts through ourWarnMe system: timely warnings, emergency notifications, and community advisories. Students, faculty, and staff are automatically signed up to receive email alerts and are encouraged to sign up to receive text alerts. Parents, supporters, and community members can also sign up for email and text alerts through the WarnMe public portal

  • Timely warnings: Sent when a crime that could pose a serious or continuing threat to students and employees has occurred, typically on or near campus. An example of an incident that may prompt a timely warning would be a robbery occurring on campus if no suspect was apprehended.

  • Emergency notifications: Sent when a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurs on the campus involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of the campus community. An earthquake or a gas leak are examples of incidents that may prompt an emergency notification.

Community advisories: Sent when an event may cause significant disruption to campus activities, such as a campus power outage.

Do WarnMe alerts involve students?

Not necessarily. The WarnMe alerts are issued based on location of the incident, not on who is involved, and many do not involve any student, staff, or faculty. The significant portion of the crimes from the latest available data year included in our Annual Security and Fire Safety Report do not involve persons affiliated with the University (i.e., staff, students, faculty, etc.).

(The Clery Act is a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.)

What determines the information included in alerts and why don’t they include more info?

The campus uses WarnMe alrts in a few different ways, including:

  • UC Berkeley WarnMe. This is the campus brand name for the Everbridge mass notification tool used as a part of the emergency notification system on campus. UC Berkeley WarnMe sends three types of alerts: emergency notifications, timely warnings, and community advisories. Every berkeley.edu email address is automatically registered in the system, and students may opt into text messages for emergency notifications as well. The general public may also subscribe to UC Berkeley WarnMe

  • Community advisories may be distributed when an event may cause significant disruption to campus activities, such as a campus power outage. These messages are meant to inform the community of the disruption, and provide action steps for the community to take if available.

  • Timely warnings are required by the Clery Act when a Clery crime occurs that could pose a serious or continuing threat to students and employees on Clery geography (e.g., on campus, at UVA, on a city street boarding campus; see our Clery map). An example of an incident that may prompt a timely warning would be a robbery occurring on campus with no suspect apprehended. For more information about federal requirements, Clery crimes and geography, and the different types of notifications, please visit the campus Clery websiteA timely warning includes information that the on-duty UCPD patrol sergeant determines is necessary and appropriate to promote safety and aid in the prevention of similar crimes. The timely warning is not meant to function as a press release about a particular incident. The warning may provide brief information about the situation if warranted, and information that promotes safety and helps individuals protect themselves from similar crimes. Caution will be taken to not issue such a lengthy warning that it cannot be quickly understood by recipients. The university has developed a wide range of template messages addressing several different situations. The individual authorizing the warning will select the template message most appropriate to the situation and modify it to address the specifics of the present incident. Physical descriptions of a suspect, including race, are included in timely warnings only when they provide several details that might help distinguish the suspect’s appearance from the general population.

  • Emergency notifications are sent when a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurs on the campus involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of the campus community, such as a gas leak, an armed intruder, or a serious disease. The university determines the content of the notification based on each situation, and has developed a wide range of template messages addressing several different emergency situations. UC Berkeley strives to balance speed and accuracy when releasing campus safety alerts. The goal is to ensure that individuals are aware of the situation and they know the steps to take to safeguard their personal safety. Follow-up notifications may be released if there is new information or instructions for the university population, such as changes in protective actions. Messages may also be sent at appropriate intervals to reiterate the current state of the emergency, especially if significant time has passed since the last update. An all-clear notification will be sent at the conclusion of an event when/if it is helpful to provide an all-clear message.

Why do you share safety tips? Are you saying it's up to students to avoid risk?

No act of violence is ever the survivor or victim’s fault. We share resources and risk-reduction tips to help decrease the likelihood of harm or violence. However, ultimately, the responsibility for not causing violence is on the perpetrator. We continue to make our community's safety and wellbeing our top priority. Both the University and the campus community have made positive steps to deter violence and create an empowering and supportive community for those harmed. However, it’s evident that significant change is still very needed and we are continuing to make changes

Are unhoused/”homeless” people a safety risk?

In general, unhoused individuals are more likely to be victims of crimes than to commit crimes. The campus is committed to working with the City of Berkeley and local nonprofits to help support unhoused individuals. UC Berkeley has a full-time social worker dedicated to assisting unhoused individuals and has a variety of supportive services and programs

In the incidents we are aware of, non-affiliates (i.e., individuals who are neither student residents nor staff/faculty) gained access to campus buildings, including residential halls, due to a well-meaning resident allowing someone to “tailgate” behind them when entering. We are working with students to remind them to use their key cards to access the building and not to hold the door open to someone they don't know. At all times, only residents and their invited guests should enter the residence halls. All guests must be accompanied by a resident. We encourage students and staff to call the police immediately if a non-resident follows them into a residence hall. 

Before 2021, we did not track crime specific to People's Park as a location. We don't track people's housing status; we only track affiliation status (i.e., whether they are a student, staff, or faculty). 

What kinds of crime happen on and off campus?

The most frequently reported crime around the campus is theft, including the theft of bikes, wallets, and electronic devices.

Where is a crime most likely to happen off campus?

Most of these crimes are crimes of opportunity. One significant hotspot around the campus is the Telegraph and Durant avenues area. We urge people to be aware of their surroundings at that intersection and make sure valuables are out of sight. We recommend taking a break from conversations or looking at phones when navigating the campus and surrounding streets.

Why don't you provide more details on individual situations?

In many cases we are precluded from sharing all available information. Doing so would either compromise an ongoing police investigation and/or violate the privacy rights of involved parties. We provide as much relevant information as possible to the public, where and when it’s appropriate to do so.

What is the exact jurisdiction of UCPD vs. the Berkeley Police Department?

UCPD is responsible for the main campus (the part of campus boarded by Bancroft, Oxford, Hearst, and Piedmont streets) and university properties (such as the Units 1, 2, and 3 residential halls; Clark Kerr Campus; Foothill residential halls), as well as University Village family housing in Albany and Intersection Apartments in Emeryville. The Berkeley Police Department is responsible for crimes that occur off campus in adjacent neighborhoods, including the streets between the main campus and the residential halls. The People’s Park construction site is university property.

What can I do to increase my safety?

While crime is never the victim's fault, there are some common practices that can reduce risks. Remain aware of one’s surroundings at all times on and around campus. Offer to walk in groups and be alert to the safety of one’s neighbors. Don’t use a phone, earbuds, or electronics while walking. Keep valuables out of view. Notice (and point out to friends) the Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone stations around campus. For more information about emergency telephones, or to report a damaged or malfunctioning emergency telephone, please send an email to police@berkeley.edu. Report any broken blue lights near residential halls through a maintenance request (as you would any issue in your living space). UseNight Safety ServicesMake sure to lock doors and close windows. 

We’re aware that there have been some broken emergency blue lights, and the campus is working to check and fix all such lights proactively. We began repairs on known broken lights earlier in 2023.

What preventative safety services does UC Berkeley offer?

We address safety in multiple ways at Golden Bear Orientation (GBO). We have an online course called Bear Prep that discusses emergency response, night safety, bike safety, the differences between UCPD and CSOs, and much more. We also conduct a small group safety discussion and talk about safety during our parent and supporter orientation. 

  • Bear Pact (performances held during GBO Day 2 and 3): Bear Pact is a scripted performance that showcases realistic student experiences that cover topics such as consent, mental health, stress, coping, alcohol and substance use, etc. 

    • Small group discussions consisting of

      • Community Guidelines

      • Principles of Community

      • Bystander Intervention 

      • Campus Resources

    • Online platform that addresses safety from a variety of perspectives

      • AlcoholEdu for College. Emphasizes how alcohol can impact relationships and the college experience, and provides strategies for making connections without using alcohol. 

        • Effects on Brain & Body. Interactive functionality informs students on the factors that affect blood alcohol content (BAC) and strategies to keep BAC in a safe range. 

        • Laws & Campus Policies and Resources

      • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Students. Includes “Culture of Respect” introducing the students' role in creating an inclusive and respectful community.

      • Sexual Assault Prevention

      • And other relevant topics

Our Residential Life team provides health and safety education for those living in our campus residential halls, and our Center for Support and Intervention hosts interactive workshops about bystander intervention. SVSH-prevention trainings are also required of all members of our community. 

How can parents and caregivers help?

Parents of Berkeley students can be helpful partners in making our campus community safer. Education is critical in helping our students understand safety best practices. While the campus makes great efforts to educate students about safety measures and precautions, parents can help reinforce the importance of safety with their students, such as reminders about:

For parents of new undergraduates, our Golden Bear Orientation program has a special orientation program geared for them.

How large is UCPD? BPD?

As of January 2024, we have 47 sworn officers and are continuing to hire UCPD plans to increase its staffing of uniformed police officers and community service officers (CSOs — trained students employed directly by UCPD) who provide BearWalk services. 

Berkeley Police Department has 181 authorized sworn personnel.

Will UCPD hire more police officers?

We are in the process of hiring more sworn officers at UCPD. It takes time to hire and train qualified officers who will enhance the safety of every member of our community.  

We have specific standards and training, which all officers receive that go above and beyond the state certification minimum standard. For example, all officers receive 40 hours of crisis intervention around mental health issues, and all officers get periodic training on implicit bias management, autism awareness, and de-escalation. All Security Patrol Officers (unarmed security response) receive training in implicit bias management and mental health awareness. Additionally, we work with our campus disability access and compliance office, and our Clery and Title IX staff for training. 

In short, we have been working to streamline the hiring process while maintaining our rigorous selection and qualification standards. In fact, many of our officers begin their careers as student CSOs and go on to become career employees at UCPD with strong ties to the community.

Do you have staffing in the residence halls?

We have security staff on-site and an on-call rotation of student and professional staff who respond to crises. We provide personal safety tips and resources for crime prevention to health and support services and more.

Does UCPD Berkeley follow best practices?

University of California Police Department, Berkeley is seeking accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the largest professional association devoted to excellence in campus public safety and law enforcement. A team of assessors from the IACLEA visited the UCPD, Berkeley on Sunday, July 23, 2023 to examine all aspects of UCPD, Berkeley's policy and procedures, management, operation, and support services. Verification that UCPD, Berkeley meets IACLEA’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation — a highly prized recognition of campus public safety professional excellence. The police department must comply with 227 primary and 496 bulleted standards in order to achieve accredited status. This accreditation ensures the department is meeting 21st-century policing practices and is prepared to be a valuable catalyst in the pursuit of delivering new and innovative services to the community. The department serves through partnerships that build trust and enhance the quality of life. Accreditation is for four years, during which UCPD Berkeley must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

What is the Campus Mobile Crisis Response?

The Campus Mobile Crisis Response is a dedicated team of mental health professionals who serve as first responders in wellness checks and mental health emergencies for students. This group serves as a supplement to police response. This team has already deployed in a “soft launch” as a proof of concept in Spring 2023. The data demonstrates that they have successfully resolved many cases on-site, when about 50 percent of those situations would have resulted in involuntary transportation to a hospital.

What kind of technology do you use for security?

Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone stations are located around campus. These can be used to notify UCPD that assistance is needed.

Our residence halls use key card entries for access to front doors, elevators, and stairwells.

We currently have security cameras positioned on the exterior of our residence halls and in the main lobbies (but not in other interior spaces to protect privacy). These camera feeds are recorded and reviewed in response to an incident.

Can you apply key card or key access to every building on campus?

Private spaces such as residential buildings and apartments as well private offices and laboratories have 24/7 key card and/or key access. We also have restricted certain public spaces like the Student Union to key card access after traditional business hours (i.e., evenings after 5pm). We are currently exploring if it is feasible to apply similar approaches to other public buildings and spaces and/or extend key card access hours. We are considering factors such as safety, accessibility, access, usability, and risk.

How do you balance safety with police accountability and social justice?

UCPD has specific standards and training for sworn officers that go beyond the state certification minimum standard. For example, all officers receive 40 hours of crisis intervention around mental health issues, and all officers get periodic training on implicit bias management, autism awareness, and de-escalation. All Security Patrol Officers (unarmed security response) receive training in implicit bias management and mental health awareness. Additionally, we work with our campus Disability Access & Compliance office, Clery, and Title IX staff for training.

In 2023, UC Berkeley formed a Police Accountability Board. It’s comprised of a group of civilians who review investigations of complaints filed against UCPD sworn officers. The board aims to ensure that the complaints are resolved fairly, thoroughly, reasonably, and expeditiously. 

UCPD received accreditation in October 2023 from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the largest professional association devoted to excellence in campus public safety and law enforcement. Fewer than 100 agencies to date have earned this distinctive recognition, and receiving this accreditation demonstrates UCPD’s compliance with national best-practice standards.  Accreditation is a voluntary process, and the police department must comply with 227 primary and 496 bulleted standards to achieve accredited status. 

The Chancellor’s Independent Advisory Board on Police Accountability and Community Safety’s September 2023 report also made recommendations to enhance campus safety and police accountability. For example, they recommended a one-day campus conference on non-police strategies for improving safety, community, and resilience, to fully fund the Mobile Crisis Response Team and continuum of care, that the material of investigations be proactively published, and that they audit UCPD’s crime logs and other records to ensure that UCPD is following campus policies. 

The campus has also formalized the Center for Student Conduct’s Restorative Justice Pathways program, should involved parties wish to go through that alternative process.

Fear for my safety is making me anxious. How can I get help?

Fearing for one's safety can lead to stress and anxiety. If students need support, the University offers drop-in counseling services at the residence halls and a full suite of services through University Health Services.

For staff members, the Be Well at Work - Employee Assistance provides free, confidential counseling and referrals for staff. To schedule an appointment with an Employee Assistance counselor, please contact 510-643-7754 or email employeeassistance@berkeley.edu

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for students living on campus

Do you have security for the residence halls?

We have security staff on-site, an on-call rotation of student and professional staff who respond to crises, and provide personal safety tips and resources for crime prevention to health and support services.

Can my friends visit me in my residential building?

At all times, only residents and their invited guests should enter the residence halls. All residents have Cal 1 Card and fob access or carry their keys to the building. If a student sees any persons who don’t appear to be residents or guests behaving suspiciously, they should notify an RA on duty or contact UCPD by calling 510-642-3333 from a cell phone on or near campus. Otherwise, dial 911.

How can campus residents prevent someone from “tailgating” behind them into their building?

Occasionally, non-affiliates (i.e., individuals who are neither student residents nor staff/faculty) have gained access to residential halls. In many cases, this was accidental and resulted from a well-meaning resident allowing someone to “tailgate” behind them when entering. We are working with students to remind them to use their key cards to access the building and to not hold the door open to someone they don't know. For example:

  • For our tower-style residence hall facilities (Units 1, 2, and 3), in addition to the front door requiring key card access, the button to call the elevator and the door to go up the interior stairwell each requires a card.

  • Students should always tap in with their own Cal 1 Card or fob when entering the residence halls. If their building uses keys, they should have their key in hand. Tapping in or showing their key is the equivalent of using their house key to unlock their front door at home.

  • Even though it may feel natural or polite, we encourage students to please avoid holding the door open for people to enter behind them. 

  • Even when someone holds the door open for a student, we still ask that they please tap in. It reaffirms that they live in a particular residential hall and can help reduce anxiety for their neighbors about potentially letting in a stranger. 

  • We tell students to always be aware of their surroundings on and around campus. They may be seen as an easier target if they look distracted, check their phones a lot, or listen to something loud on their earphones.

  • After dark and in the evenings, students should consider using BearWalk for a free walking escort to their destination: 510-642-9255 (642-WALK), or visitbearwalk.berkeley.edu

Will you install gates and fencing at the residence halls?

While gates and fencing can be a deterrent, it can present similar challenges of individuals tailgating into the gated area. It can also reduce sightlines into that area and create challenges with fire safety and accessibility. We are evaluating all of these considerations and are exploring a number of options. We will share more information as our plans develop.

I can’t lock my door. What should I do?

Students should immediately alert a member of our staff. Our staff (including campus security officers, residential safety ambassadors (RSAs), residential directors, custodial staff, maintenance staff, front desk staff, and others) regularly check to ensure doors are closing and latching consistently. Students in our campus housing can also alert us through a maintenance request

Can the campus provide ride-sharing services (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.) to help students get home late at night?

Given the short distances between where students are living on or near our campus and their evening classes and/or where they are socializing, it would likely not be feasible to have ride-sharing services serve those close-to-campus locations (few drivers accept rides for short distances). Note that there are Night Safety ServicesPrograms include escorted walking and a safety shuttle. 

However, for further locations (such as University Village), we are exploring whether a ride service partnership might make sense and be feasible. 

Bigger picture, it’s worth remembering that crimes can occur at all times of the day, not only after dark. We encourage everyone in our community to remember the safety tips (see above) regardless of the time of day.