Harvard University Police Department
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Urgent: 617-495-1212 (Longwood 617-432-1212)  |  Business: 617-495-1215
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Frequently Asked Questions

About the HUPD
Emergencies
Crime Awareness
Your Role in Staying Safe
Information and Services
Lost Property
Employment

About the HUPD

How do I get to the Harvard University Police Department?
The HUPD is located at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue on the sixth floor. From Holyoke Center walk towards Central Square. 1033 Massachusetts Avenue is located just past the Crate and Barrel Furniture store.

Can you expound on exactly what is meant by community policing?
To fulfill its mission of providing quality policing in partnership with the community, the Department has adopted a community-oriented problem-solving (COPS) philosophy. The core components of the philosophy are prevention, partnerships, and problem solving. Officers are committed to preventing crime and disorder and focus their efforts on eliminating the underlying causes of those problems. To do this, officers actively engage in partnerships with the community to address and solve problems. Partnerships are the foundation of effective problem solving and crime prevention. Through these partnerships and collaborative problem solving, officers deal with problems, prevent crime, and help maintain a community free of disorder.

What's the difference between the HUPD and the city police, like Cambridge, Boston Police, etc.?
The only difference is jurisdiction. HUPD officers are licensed special State Police officers and deputy sheriffs in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties. Those powers give them the authority to respond to any crime on our campus and any "breach of the peace" on city streets in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston. Officers receive the same academy training as officers from Cambridge.

If a crime is committed on campus, I assume that HUPD handles it. Are there any times when the Cambridge or Boston Police would get involved?
With the exception of a couple of crimes, such as a homicide, we have primary jurisdiction over all crimes occurring on our property. However, we maintain a good working relationship with Cambridge Police and the Boston Police and will coordinate with them at times in order to ensure the most appropriate response to maintain a safe and secure environment.

How do I make a complaint against a Harvard University Police Department officer?
Community members are encouraged to bring to the HUPD's attention questions of professionalism of its employees by contacting either the on-duty supervisor at 617-495-1786 (available 24 hours a day) or the Office of the Chief at 617-495-1780 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

You can also submit a complaint online at www.hupd.harvard.edu/about_professional.php.


Emergencies

If I'm on campus and I call 911, who responds?
If you call 911 on campus, the call will go to either CPD or BPD depending on your location. We have a good working relationship with both departments and they generally inform us of the 911 call. Either way, there will be a response to your location, either by the HUPD alone or a joint response. To reach the HUPD directly in an emergency, call 617-495-1212.

Does the University have a text messaging system?
Yes. The University has established the MessageMe communications system to send text messages to the cell phones of students, faculty and staff in the event of a life-threatening, campus-wide emergency. This system complements the other emergency communications capabilities the University has in place, which include emergency web sites, broadcast email, phone conference bridges, and voice messaging systems.

All persons with a Harvard ID are eligible to sign up for the MessageMe service. They must have a cell phone that is equipped to receive text mail messages. Users of the service are required to update their contact information annually at the start of the academic year by logging on to http://messageme.harvard.edu. Members of the Harvard community are not required to sign up for the MessageMe service.

I have been raped. What are my options?
Please visit www.hupd.harvard.edu/help_assault.php for information on what to do if you are the victim of a rape.

What should I do if my friend is very drunk, has passed out, and is not waking up?
You should call the HUPD immediately at 617-495-1212. You should not delay in calling as any delay could be life threatening depending on the level of intoxication. The HUPD’s main focus is to get your friend immediate medical attention and not to get you or your friend in trouble. The health and well-being of your friend should far outweigh any concerns about disciplinary action. Please note that the incident will be reported to the appropriate college official as a medical assist.

Where can I find information about snow or other weather-related emergencies?
In the event of a weather emergency you should contact the University Weather and Special Conditions line at 617-496-NEWS (6397) for information or visit the Harvard homepage at www.harvard.edu.


Crime Awareness

What's the most common crime that happens on campus?
The vast majority of crime on campus is property crime (95%). Most of the property stolen is left unattended in public areas or in unlocked rooms or offices. The best advice to follow is to never leave your property unattended and to always lock your door.

Does HUPD see a lot of theft of iPods/MP3-players on campus? Does much of this happen as people are using them? Any thoughts on safety while listening to an iPod on campus?
Thieves are constantly looking for unattended, easily transportable, and valuable property to take. iPods are all of the above. The best way to prevent your very expensive item from being stolen is to never leave it unattended in a public setting. We have not experienced any muggings where the offender took the iPod from the victim directly. However, we would suggest changing your headphones from the white headphones that come with the iPod to nondescript black or gray ones.

I know that unaffiliated persons are entering academic and administrative buildings, sometimes stealing laptops and other property. Why aren’t all buildings locked up as securely as those on the Longwood campus?
Universities and colleges are constantly struggling with the appropriate balance of security and people's freedom of movement. Appropriate levels of security are determined by schools and departments in coordination with the HUPD. Regardless of how secure an environment is, we still need community members to take appropriate precautions such as securing their personal property, locking their doors when leaving (even for a moment), and calling us immediately when they observe suspicious activity.


Your Role in Staying Safe

What is your biggest concern when it comes to safety at Harvard?
The HUPD is concerned about all crime on campus. We are especially concerned about people's personal safety. Fortunately, the vast majority of crime on campus is property crime. We strive to get the word out about protecting yourself and your property.

How safe is Harvard's campus compared to other local colleges and to urban campuses in general? Isn't this something that the University must report on each year, and how would I be able to see that information?
Annually we report three years worth of crime statistics to the Department of Education (http://www.hupd.harvard.edu/crime_statistics.php). We do not like to compare ourselves to other schools when it comes to criminal statistics as we are concerned primarily with what is occurring on our campus and what we need to do in partnership with the community to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. Our statistics do show, however, that our crime rate is comparable to all the other Boston-area schools and much better than most of the other Ivies.

Often I have to leave campus late, and especially when it becomes darker early, I find myself walking alone at night. What would you suggest is the best way to handle lone walks through poorly lit areas? Are there phones or some other way to communicate with campus police in case of an emergency? Is there a direct line I can save on speed dial?
There are numerous police assistance phones located at outdoor locations throughout the campus; they have blue lights above them for easy identification. These phones should be used to report suspicious activity, crimes in progress, or any emergency situation. The dispatcher will identify the location of the phone being used and will dispatch police and other security personnel as necessary. In addition, University Centrex phones (gray), placed at outdoor locations, can be used to contact the HUPD at 617-495-1212. Also, we strongly encourage community members to enter the HUPD’s urgent line (617-495-1212) phone number into their cell phone speed dial list.

How frequently do people report being followed? I was followed on my way home the other day and have heard other instances of this happening recently in the area. How do you advise handling a situation like that?
Occasionally people will report that they feel they were being followed. People should trust their instincts and react appropriately. That could mean changing direction, entering a public location (such as a restaurant or store), relocating to a well-lit or well-traveled location, or calling the police from a cell phone or one of the blue light phones located throughout campus. The best piece of advice we can give you is to follow your senses. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Do not hesitate to call the HUPD at 617-495-1212 or from one of the blue light phones. We strongly suggest that you program our number into your cell phone.

What are the hours of operation for the shuttle buses and vans and the walking escort program?
For information on shuttle buses and van routes and hours of operation, please call University Transportation Services at (49) 5-0400 or visit www.uos.harvard.edu/transportation/.

During the academic year, the Harvard University Campus Escort Program (HUCEP) operates from 10:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and 10:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., Thursday through Saturday. For additional information please call (38) 4-8327 or visit www.hupd.harvard.edu/prevention_hucep.php.


Information and Services

I need to get my fingerprints taken for a summer internship. Does the Harvard University Police Department take fingerprints?
Yes. Students, faculty, and staff may get their fingerprints taken on Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and on Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (please call 617-495-1796 to ensure that someone is available to take your prints). The cost of fingerprinting is $10 per card (no credit cards will be accepted, only cash or check). The fingerprint cards should be filled out in black ink prior to your arrival at HUPD, and you must present a valid photo ID before being fingerprinted.

I am applying for an internship that requires that I demonstrate that I have not been arrested while attending school. Can the Harvard University Police Department write me a letter stating that I have not been arrested?
No. The HUPD does not write letters stating that a student has not been arrested. Persons who need to provide a prospective employer with a document demonstrating that they have not been arrested while attending school need to request a copy of their criminal record from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board. Persons can get information on how to obtain a copy of their record by visiting www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopssubtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Crime+Prevention+%26+Personal+Safety&L2=Background+Check&L3=Criminal+Offender+Record+Information+%28CORI%29&sid=Eeops.

Does the Harvard University Police Department disseminate incident reports to the general public?
No. In the interest of maintaining community members' privacy, the HUPD does not disseminate incident reports to the general public. Because the HUPD is a private police agency, it is not required under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Public Record Law to disseminate police reports to the public. The University's Office of the General Counsel has authorized the HUPD to provide theft victims copies of incident reports in order to submit them to their insurance companies when making a claim for reimbursement. If you are a theft victim and want to request a report, please email Steven Catalano, the Department’s Public Information Officer, at steven_catalano@harvard.edu.

My organization just had an event where we collected a substantial amount of money. Is there a place where I can store the money temporarily prior to the bank's opening?
The HUPD maintains a safe deposit box at the front desk of police headquarters at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue, sixth floor. The money can be brought in any time but can be retrieved only during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. Before coming in to retrieve your money, please call (49) 5-1786 to determine that someone is available to retrieve the money from the safe.

What is the process for scheduling a party?
Please visit Harvard College's Office of Student Activities website at www.college.harvard.edu for information on scheduling an event or call the Dean's Office at (49) 5-1558.

How do I hire an HUPD detail officer?
You can request a detail online at http://www.hupd.harvard.edu/detail/.

Where can I get more information about parking on campus?
You should contact the Harvard University Parking Office at (49) 5-3772 or visit www.uos.harvard.edu/transportation/parking/ for additional information.

My car's battery is dead and I need a jump. Does the University offer any type of roadside assistance?
The University’s Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) provides free on-campus emergency road service to all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the University on the Allston and Cambridge campuses. This service offers assistance to motorists who need help charging a dead battery, changing a tire, or retrieving keys that have been locked inside a vehicle. If a more serious problem occurs, the MAP service will help in securing the appropriate assistance. The MAP service is available between 7:00 a.m. and midnight, Monday through Friday, except University holidays. To contact the MAP service, call 617-496-HELP (4357).

Longwood Campus motorist assistance is available 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; please call 617-432-4440.


Lost Property

What should I do if I have lost a piece of property?
If you have lost property, please contact the HUPD Property Custodian by email or by calling 617-495-1783 to determine if your property has been recovered. In your message, please describe your property and where you believe you lost it.

I am located on the Longwood Campus and have lost my cell phone and a set of keys. What should I do to see if they have been turned in?
You should call the Harvard University Police Department's Longwood Campus substation at (43) 2-1397 to determine if your property has been recovered.

I lost my HUID. What should I do?
The first thing you need to do is disable the card. To do that you need to visit www.huid.harvard.edu. Click on “Authorized Applications” and then select “HUID Lost/Stolen Card Deactivation Form” and follow the instructions. Secondly, to replace your lost HUID, you need to go to the ID Services Office, located on the 5th floor of Holyoke Center, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you find your HUID prior to replacing it, you can reactivate it by visiting www.huid.harvard.edu; click on “Authorized Applications” and then select “HUID Lost/Stolen Card Deactivation Form” and follow the instructions.

I lost my room key and am locked out of my room. What should I do?
You should contact your proctor, resident dean, or resident advisor depending on where you live. Please attempt to contact them BEFORE you contact the HUPD at (49) 5-1215 for assistance.


Employment

I am interested in becoming a Harvard University Police Department officer. What should I do?
You should regularly visit the University's employment website at www.employment.harvard.edu to determine when a position is open. The hiring process begins with a criminal record check and a panel interview. Candidates who pass the record check and interview will then undergo an extensive background investigation, followed by physical and psychological testing. Upon successful completion of the background investigation and subsequent testing, candidates then interview with the Chief of Police. The Chief makes the final offer of employment, which is conditional pending successful completion of a 22-week police academy.

How do I become a Harvard University Campus Escort Program (HUCEP) employee?
Please contact Maribel Blanco at jack_okane@harvard.edu.

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