A joint police patrol by the University of California Police Department and the Berkeley Police Department which launched last year will resume in south Berkeley neighborhoods tonight. The initiative, which aims to improve public safety at night and suppress violent crime, coincides with the start of the new academic year on campus.
By the time classes begin on Thursday next week, an estimated 6,300 undergraduates, including 690 international and 880 out-of-state students, will have moved in to campus residence halls. Another 3,900 undergraduates and graduates will be living in UC Berkeley-run apartments and family housing.
The Joint Southside Safety Patrol is also focused on what it says in a press release has been a challenging town-gown issue: unruly parties of 10 or more people in off-campus student rental housing and fraternities that create a significant public nuisance.
City and campus police team up in two squad cars to cover the neighborhoods near campus Thursday through Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Police officers may issue citations when they find violations of any kind, and this information is shared with the campus’s Office of Student Conduct.
Since its launch last August through mid-May of this year, the joint patrol received approximately 312 calls for service and issued 143 warning citations for noise complaints. Officers only had to return to 16 locations to cite repeat violations, which carry fines from $750 to $2,500 if issued within a 120-day period. Both campus and city officials agree that the joint patrols are effecting positive change.
“The relatively low number of repeat violations shows that the program is working,” said Caleb Dardick, director of UC Berkeley’s Local Government and Community Relations office.