Residents living on the Southside of campus will soon see a greater police presence in their neighborhood, particularly late at night on the weekends and during Cal football games.
The city of Berkeley police department and the UC Berkeley police department announced Tuesday that they are forming joint patrols to cruise the neighborhood. They hope that a coordinated effort will cut down on crime and public nuisance crimes.
In recent years, there have been numerous sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries, and even an unexplained death on the Southside of campus. This summer, someone set a string of small arson fires along Telegraph Avenue.
The new partnership, called the Joint Southside Safety Patrol, will pair a city cop with a university cop to travel in the same squad car on the south side of campus from 10 pm to 2 am Thursdays through Saturdays. There will be two squad cars dedicated to the effort. More officers will be out on the streets before and after Cal home football games.
In the past, people living in the area who wanted to report a crime sometimes called both the city and the university.
“This plan responds directly to our community’s desire for a safer and more civil Southside neighborhood,” Vincent Casalaina, past-president of the Willard Neighborhood Association told UC Berkeley News Service. “I am especially pleased that the city police dispatchers will be able to route calls from Southside neighbors directly to both the UCPD and BPD officers already in the vicinity and allow them to respond more quickly to problems.”
One focus of the new patrols will be loud parties and illegal alcohol consumption, according to UC. Police will be on the lookout for underage drinking, open containers, public drunkenness, and unruly behavior that disturbs the neighborhood.
“Our focus is on making the Southside safer and more enjoyable for students and longtime residents, who live side by side,” UC Berkeley Associate Chancellor Linda M. Williams told UC Berkeley News. She also chairs the advisory council.