Chief Downing's Greeting

Dear Friends,

Since becoming a member of the Harvard community nearly 23 years ago, I have been honored to be part of the team entrusted with maintaining a safe and secure campus environment. After over two-decades of serving the Harvard community, it is a great privilege to serve as the Interim-Chief while the University continues its search for a permanent chief of police. The HUPD is committed to being a learning organization that takes every opportunity to learn from both successes and failures, and continuously seeks to improve how we interact amongst each other and the community. I, as well as every member of the Department, am committed to identifying new ways to engage with the community and strengthen existing partnerships. Every member of the HUPD will work diligently to maintain our high standards of professionalism and the delivery of high-quality service to students, faculty, staff and other members of the Harvard Community.

The HUPD is committed to providing the Harvard community with a safe and secure campus environment. Although reported crime at Harvard is low and consists predominantly of property crime, it is important for community members and visitors to remember that our campuses are located in an urban setting. Therefore, we share many of the crime and safety issues that exist in other major cities. The safety and security of the University is the combined responsibility of the entire community. In partnership with the community, the HUPD works to prevent crime and solve problems that affect students, faculty, and staff.

Officers conduct visible patrols, respond to reports of crimes, address problems, and provide information and resources to the community. Information provided to the community, including practices, procedures, and tips for keeping safe at Harvard, is delivered in several ways. It is published annually in “Playing it Safe,”, the University’s Annual Security report, appears on this website, and is discussed in safety talks that are conducted by police officers at student orientations, new employee orientations, and other gatherings. Community members interested in arranging a safety talk should contact the Team Leader for their area.

I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to be aware of the HUPD substation locations and to check their hours of operation. Our officers, committed to initiating and maintaining close ties with the community, view the substations as a tool to facilitate the interaction needed to ensure our success in providing a safe and secure campus. Feel free to reach out to the Team Leaders in your area and ask any questions or raise concerns about security issues that are important to you. Also, by taking the time to familiarize yourself with our resources and utilizing the information provided on this website, you will be helping us to help you keep the Harvard community safe.


Interim Chief Denis Downing