How safe is UC Berkeley? The Daily Californian analyzed five years of police reports to see where and when crime occurs most often.
November 23, 2015
In 2014, UC Berkeley experienced more than 1,000 property crimes, such as burglary and theft — the most of any of 49 California public schools reporting to the FBI. It also had the second-highest violent-crime-per-student rate of any undergraduate UC campus, behind only UCLA.
On a campus with more than 35,000 students located in an urban area, it may be unsurprising that the crime rate is relatively high compared with that of smaller schools in suburban settings. A Daily Californian analysis showed, however, that violent crime clusters on the outskirts of campus, while most property crime reports originate on campus and are concentrated during the weekday daytime hours.
The area south of campus, around Telegraph Avenue from Bancroft Way to Dwight Way, has experienced the most violent crime reports since 2010, notably in People's Park and the surrounding area, where there were multiple reports of battery, aggravated theft, robbery and assault. But the crimes reported most often in the area were quality-of-life crimes — such as drug and alcohol violations and disorderly conduct — and petty theft.
In contrast, most property crimes were reported on campus. Frequent reports came from the Recreational Sports Facility, Golden Bear Cafe, Dwinelle Hall and libraries such as Doe and Moffitt. Across the area we examined, however, the number of property crime reports, especially petty theft, dwarfed those of other types.
Our analysis grouped incidents into 326 equally sized “bins” to compare the frequency and types of reports across areas. Any incident within a bin's boundaries was counted toward that bin's total.
Click on a bin for detailed information.
Although crimes tended to occur more frequently on weekday afternoons, they fell largely into the category of property crimes. Violent and quality-of-life crimes were more sporadic.
The graphic below counts the total number of crimes of each type reported by day of the week and hour from January 2010 to September 2015.
Crime reports have decreased since 2010, though they varied according to season. Property and quality-of-life crimes declined during the summer months, likely because there were fewer people on and around campus.
We reviewed UCPD daily incident logs from January 2010 to September 2015. To analyze crime by incident type, we classified incident descriptions into three categories: violent crime, such as assault and robbery; property crime, such as theft and vandalism; and quality-of-life crime, such as alcohol and drug violations. We attempted to follow the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting standards, but the classification involved judging how to categorize some crime types.
Many of the logged events were security checks, alarms or escorts, which we excluded from our analysis.
The data and code used for this project is available to the public.