The UC Police Dept. has increased patrols around campus and tightened restriction on vehicle parking on campus in response to the nation’s High Alert Homeland Security status.
UCPD officers have increased patrols on campus, some on bicycles and others walking through the residence halls in an effort to protect students from possible acts of terrorism. The drivers of vehicles illegally parked close to buildings and facilities – including delivery trucks, vans and UC work vehicles – will be directed to move immediately, said UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Bill Bean.
“We’re just taking a closer, stronger look at some of the events and security for [campus] events by looking at each one; ‘What is the event? What is the threat level?'” Bean said.
Events on campus, such as rallies and basketball games, will continue to take place as usual; however, UCPD has new safety standards for some events.
It is standard procedure that student-sponsored groups must get approval from the Office of Student Life to host an event on campus, said UCPD Patrol Captain Mike Foster. The student-sponsored group is then referred to UCPD for security recommendations.
“We’re taking additional precautions at public events,” Bean said. “For example, we’re trying to limit backpacks at basketball games.”
There have been no acts of terrorism on campus so far, but Bean said students can help reduce the risk by being alert and aware of their surroundings.
“We have instructed people to be especially watchful of suspicious or unattended packages and articles, either delivered or received through the mail,” Bean said. “That includes instructing citizens to report suspicious activities, packages and people immediately to law enforcement.”
March 19, a bottle containing an unknown yellow and green fluid was found by UCPD officers during a foot patrol near an elevator at the Student Affairs and Administrative Services Building. After chemical analysis, it was determined to be gasoline, and the UCPD said its placement at the site was not malicious.
The UCPD, however, would rather be safe than sorry and is asking students to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious.
“[Students] are our eyes and ears. They’re at more places than we are,” Foster said. “We would rather respond to incidents that turn out to be nothing rather than not respond to incidents that turn out be something important.”