Content warning: sexual violence
Over the last few days, a flood of WarnMes in campus inboxes shared alerts of crimes around and near campus.
The crimes reported include robberies at gunpoint outside of student residential housing, car break-ins and sexual battery. Meanwhile, students have taken to Reddit and other social media platforms, expressing concerns of needing to protect themselves on campus.
According to the most recent data on DelMarva Now, Berkeley is currently ranked fourth in the nation’s universities and colleges for criminal offenses, sixth for violence against women, third for hate crimes and first for unfounded crimes.
“Generally, thefts of motor vehicles, especially electric scooters, remain high,” campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in an email. “In addition, we have seen an uptick in crime categories like aggravated assault and dating violence, while other crimes including burglary and robbery have remained steady or declined.”
In 2021, there were a greater number of sex offenses, aggravated assault and motor vehicle thefts on campus than off campus, according to Berkeley Clery statistics.
There were 70 reported cases of sex offenses on campus in 2021, 58 of those cases occurred in student housing. Comparatively, 22 cases occurred off campus.
Furthermore, there were 54 cases of on campus aggravated assaults and 81 motor vehicle thefts, while there were 39 off campus assaults and 57 cases of motor vehicle thefts.
The Clery statistics also showed that, when compared to 2020 crime rates, campus crime increased in 2021.
Gilmore speculated that since Clery statistics is “location specific,” the 2020 data represent the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when a few students were on campus and many were remote.
Most of the increases are represented as criminal offenses and Violence Against Women Act violations.
Gilmore said that one possible reason for the statistical increase in sexual and gender-based violence could be more cases being reported to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination, or the Title IX office, which Gilmore said does not necessarily correlate with an increase in sexual violence.
Much of the Clery statistic also depends on the amount of information supplied and collected by university departments, Gilmore added, and the data from Clery can often have a single arrest lead to multiple crimes being counted.
“The size and setting of the institution, helpful reporting mechanisms, cooperation of local law enforcement, and the sophistication of the Clery program can have a dramatic impact on the statistics submitted by an institution,” Gilmore said in the email.
Students have been using safety resources provided by UCPD, as per data collected in 2022.
As of December 2022, UCPD has fielded 94,621 calls in the last year with 65% of those being calls relating to security service requests. The most common security services requested were security checks or escorts.
Beyond this, Gilmore said campus has been taking extra measures to ensure student safety. According to Gilmore, campus has hired 84 new student security monitors for residence halls and is hoping to fill 9 vacancies in UCPD officers.
BearWalk Escort recently hired around 30 new students this semester. Currently, there are 73 employed in the program and Gilmore said the goal is to have 100 to 120 student employees.
“Student safety has been and will always be of critical importance to the campus,” Gilmore stated in the email. “Officials in various campus units, including Student Affairs, UCPD, and Clery Compliance, are working with various campus partners (and are in conversation with student leaders) to assess the situation and review ways to help improve campus safety.”