On-Campus Criminal Investigations
With respect to conduct that takes place on campus, HUPD officers investigate criminal complaints filed by community members and pursue investigations to their most reasonable conclusion. Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Division may conduct follow-up investigations, with support when necessary from a number of law enforcement partners, including the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, Cambridge Police, Somerville Police, federal agencies, District Attorneys’ offices, and victim-witness programs.
One of HUPD’s central concerns is the interests of the victim. The HUPD recognizes the importance of confidentiality and of protecting the identity of the victim to the extent possible in the course of an investigation. In criminal matters, the victim’s preferences may greatly influence the way in which a case is processed.
Regardless of whether a criminal case is pursued through the courts, the University may use its internal disciplinary processes and procedures to address behavior that is alleged to have violated Harvard’s expectations for conduct.
Off-Campus Criminal Investigations
When a student is involved in an off-campus incident involving disorderly or criminal behavior, HUPD officers may assist the local police department in its investigation. On a regular basis the Cambridge and Boston Police also share with the HUPD incident reports that involve off-campus disorderly behavior or criminal activity committed by Harvard students. The HUPD shares those reports with the appropriate school or department for follow-up, potentially including disciplinary action.
Certain officially recognized student organizations own or control non-campus property, though none have non-campus housing facilities. If Cambridge or Boston Police are called by a citizen to respond to an incident involving Harvard students taking place at one of these locations, or on other private property, they typically will invite HUPD to respond with them or they will notify HUPD after they have responded to inform HUPD of any disorderly behavior or criminal activity. However, the Cambridge and Boston Police Departments do this out of courtesy and are not obligated to notify or involve the HUPD when they respond to a call involving private property.