After an initial email was sent out to students Oct. 14, Treeline Security, a private vendor, has started patrolling Units 1, 2 and 3 regularly at night.
UC Berkeley hired Treeline Security primarily due to UCPD and residence hall security monitor staffing shortages, according to the email. Officers from the vendor currently monitor the residential halls from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. seven days a week.
“I like having them around more — I feel peace of mind,” said Kari Espindola, a campus freshman living in Unit 3. “Before that, all we had were the BearWalk people, and they don’t even have pepper spray.”
Espindola, along with several others, witnessed an incident of indecent exposure in her building on Sept. 28 after a nonresident had entered without an ID. While there were no security monitors from the Residential Hall Security Program, or RHSP, at the time of the incident, Espindola reported seeing them much more often recently.
RHSP has begun maintaining a schedule of security monitors in each building lobby of Units 1, 2 and 3 — monitors will check students in via Cal IDs and be available as a resource in the case of a disturbance.
“I hope that if there is an incident, the response will be much better and quicker now,” said Andrea Castresana, a Unit 2 coordinator for the program. “When I was a freshman, knowing there was someone at the front desk would feel nice.”
The hiring process started off slowly for RHSP, but the program is now almost fully staffed, according to Castresana. She added that while coordinators for the program were not informed about campus’s decision to hire additional private security beforehand, Treeline Security has not interfered with any of RHSP’s regular operations, mainly patrolling around the outside of buildings.
Treeline Security has reported no significant incidents since it started work around the residence halls, according to campus spokesperson Ellen Topp. Campus intends to continue working with Treeline Security until the hiring process for RHSP and UCPD is further along.
“Our hiring process this semester has taken longer than it usually does, in part due to hiring more people than we normally do as well as some delays in completing administrative tasks,” Topp said in an email. “We are making rapid progress on completing this hiring and hope to have our full complement of security personnel soon.”
No patrols from Treeline Security or security monitoring from RHSP will be enforced at the Foothill and Clark Kerr residence halls.
Castresena and Topp both attribute this to a general lack of crime in the area, with Topp adding that community service officers regularly patrol both premises. At the units, Castresena hopes to maintain a constant nightly rotation of monitors and establish a rapport with students.
“We want residents to know we’re there to support them, not as a watchdog or a punitive measure for them,” Castresena said.