Police Department


Chief/Director, Francis D. “Bud” Riley

1033 Massachusetts Ave., Sixth Floor

Police Assistance: 617-495-1212

Business Line: 617-495-1215

Criminal Investigation Division: 617-495-1796 or 617-495-1212

The mission of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) is to maintain the safety and security of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the University. The HUPD is a full-service police department (comprising a Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and Dignitary Protection Unit) that includes police officers, detectives, civilian communication dispatchers, and support and administrative personnel. The police officers are sworn special State Police officers with deputy sheriff powers and attend the same police academy as Cambridge Police officers. With a few exceptions, such as homicide, the HUPD has primary jurisdiction over all crimes occurring on University property. The Department maintains a good working relationship with Cambridge Police, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, and numerous other local and federal law enforcement agencies and, when appropriate, coordinates responses to particular incidents and events.

Some core functions of the Department are:

In addition to these activities, officers present safety and security information at community meetings, make presentations at student and new employee orientations, teach self-defense classes, register laptops and bicycles, and initiate informal contact with students, faculty, and staff while patrolling on foot, bicycles, and motorcycles, and while eating in the dining halls. HUPD officers are approachable and committed to keeping the Harvard community safe and secure.

To fulfill its mission, the HUPD has adopted a community-oriented problem-solving (COPS) philosophy. The core components of the philosophy are prevention, partnerships, and problem solving. HUPD officers are problem solvers, as well as law enforcers, who work in partnership with the community to address and solve problems. Through these partnerships and collaborative problem solving, officers deal with problems, prevent crime, and help maintain a community free of disorder. Partnerships are the foundation of effective problem solving and crime prevention. To help build, maintain, and strengthen these partnerships within the University community, the Department is divided into six geographically-based teams (Yard, North Yard, Radcliffe, Allston-Watertown, River, and Longwood). Because they have small areas of responsibility, officers have the ability to build relationships with the community and become familiar with problems specific to that area through increased communication and interactions.

Annually, the HUPD produces a report that outlines the University’s campus safety and security policies, procedures, and practices. The publication, "Playing it Safe," describes programs and services designed to promote safety and security and to help members of the Harvard community prevent and report crime. This report also includes crime statistics for the campus area. A copy of "Playing it Safe" can be found online. Students and their parents or guardians are strongly encouraged to read and discuss with each other the information provided in "Playing it Safe."

The HUPD disseminates community advisories and crime alerts after a serious or violent crime that may pose a continuing public safety threat is reported to the HUPD or local police departments. Also, in the unfortunate event of a life-threatening, campus-wide emergency, the University has a text-messaging notification system in place, along with other communication capabilities as well. Students are encouraged to sign up for the service at messageme.harvard.edu/ during registration.

It is important for students to remember that the University is located in an urban setting; therefore, we share many of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city. Violent crimes do occur but are relatively rare. However, the vast majority (95%) of crime on campus is property crime. Most of the property stolen is left unattended in public areas or in unlocked rooms or offices. Thieves are constantly looking for unattended, easily transportable, and valuable property. For example, laptops, cell phones, and iPods are both easily transportable and valuable. The best way to prevent these and other expensive items from being stolen is to never leave them unattended in a public setting.

To maintain the safety and security of the University, the HUPD and the community need to work together. Therefore, the HUPD offers the following advice and tips to students and other community members. Crime prevention includes calling the HUPD when you observe suspicious activity, calling if you are the victim of or become aware of a criminal incident, and informing the Department of potential public safety issues. Together, the HUPD and the community can maintain a safe and secure environment for the pursuit of education and scholarship that brings people to Harvard University. The HUPD strongly encourages community members to incorporate the following actions into their daily routine to keep themselves and their residences safe.

In order for the Harvard University Police Department to maintain a safe and secure campus it needs the help of the community. If you follow the advice below, you will be doing your part to ensure your safety as well as the safety of the entire Harvard University community. Additional information on all of the topics below can be found at www.hupd.harvard.edu.

Personal Protection

No one can consistently predict when and where crime will occur or who its victims will be. Because crimes against individuals can and do take place, even in broad daylight, students are urged to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. By being alert, one is more likely to avoid impending danger. In addition, the HUPD offers rape prevention workshops entitled Rape Aggression Defense (RAD). The objective of RAD is to develop and enhance the self-defense options for women. Additional information can be found at http://www.hupd.harvard.edu/prevention_defense.php.

Residential Security

Students are reminded to always lock their doors even if leaving their room for a moment, never prop open doors, never allow visitors to "piggyback" with them when entering their residence hall, request that visitors identify themselves prior to opening the door, and never leave notes indicating one’s absence. Additional crime prevention tips can be found at the HUPD Website. Students are encouraged to call the HUPD at 617-495-1212 if they observe someone acting in a suspicious manner.

Blue Light Emergency Phones

Police assistance phones have blue lights above them for easy identification, and can be found in outdoor locations across the entire campus. They should be used to report suspicious activity, a crime in progress, or any emergency. When a call comes in from one of these phones, the dispatcher will identify the location of the phone being used and dispatch police and other security personnel as necessary.

In addition, university Centrex phones (gray) placed at outdoor locations can be used to contact HUPD at (617-49)5-1212. If you have any questions about accessibility to these phones, please contact the University Disability Coordinator at 617-495-1859.

Traveling at Night

The HUPD strongly encourages all students to be vigilant at all times and take appropriate precautions, such as walking with others, utilizing the designated well-lit pathways as noted in the student telephone directory, and utilizing the shuttle buses, evening van service, and walking escorts (the Harvard University Campus Escort Program/HUCEP) whenever possible. Information on shuttle buses, vans, and the overnight shuttle/van extended service can be found on the University’s Transportation Services Website or by calling 617-495-0400. A HUCEP walking escort can be requested at 617-384-8237. The hours of operation for HUCEP are 10:30 pm–2 am, Sunday through Wednesday, and 10:30 pm–3 am, Thursday through Saturday.

Your Emergency Contact Information

The HUPD recommends that all students, faculty, and staff take a moment to enter at least two emergency contacts into their cell phone address book under the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency). ICE contacts should include a first name and specific relationship, for example: ICE - Sondra (mom) and ICE – Eileen (wife).

In the event of an emergency, this would assist public safety officials in contacting the appropriate person immediately. These entries would also make it easier to return lost or stolen phones to their proper owner.

Whistles and Shrill Alarms

Safety whistles are available for FREE at HUPD headquarters (1033 Massachusetts Avenue, Sixth Floor). Shrill alarms can be purchased at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue for $10.

Emergency Communication

In the event of an emergency, the University and HUPD have at their disposal a wide variety of communication tools in order to reach out rapidly and efficient.  These include: email, 617-496-6397 (NEWS), a call-in emergency line available in the event of an emergency, school and university web pages, text and voice messaging, and a special Emergency Website which is activated at the time of major emergencies.

MessageMe Emergency Text Notifications

MessageMe is a communications system designed to send text messages to the cell phones of students, faculty and staff in the event of a life-threatening, campus-wide emergency. It is a system that complements the other emergency communications capabilities the University have in place which include emergency Websites, broadcast email, phone conference bridges, and voice messaging systems

Any person with a Harvard ID is eligible to sign up for the MessaageMe 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.

Community Advisory/Crime Alerts

The HUPD disseminates community advisories and crime alerts after a serious or violent crime that may pose a continuing public safety threat is reported to either the HUPD or local police departments. Community advisories are distributed to the entire University community, whereas crime alerts are disseminated only to the relevant population of students, faculty, and staff. The community advisories and crime alerts are disseminated directly to Harvard College students in an effort to notify the community as quickly as possible, should a potential threat to public safety arise.

Sensitive Crime Unit

Personnel from the Department’s Sensitive Crime Unit are available 24 hours a day. Members of the unit have been trained to investigate sexual offenses and to be aware of the trauma associated with such incidents. Each case is approached in a sensitive manner. The Department’s Sensitive Crime Unit may be reached by calling 617-495-1796 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. At all other times, the HUPD emergency number, 617-495-1212, should be used.

Rape and Indecent Assault and Battery

According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 22, rape is defined as follows:

Having sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person and compelling such person to submit by force and against his/her will, or compelling such person to submit by threat of bodily injury….

Rape may occur between people who know each other and between people who have previously had consensual sexual relations. Also, under Massachusetts law, both men and women may be the victims or the perpetrators of rape. If a perpetrator intentionally has physical contact of a sexual nature with the victim without the victim’s consent, the perpetrator can be charged with the crime of indecent assault and battery. Such contact may include touching a woman’s breasts or buttocks, or touching the pubic area of a man or woman. Indecent assault and battery is a felony that may be punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

If you are uncertain as to whether a situation constitutes a rape or indecent assault and battery, please consult with either the HUPD, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR), Harvard University Health Services (HUHS), your Resident Dean, a designated Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment (SASH) Adviser, or other helping resource to get information and support and to determine whether a crime has been committed.

Massachusetts General Laws and University policy seek to protect victims of rape, sexual assault, and other sex offenses, and they encourage the reporting of such crimes to responsible University officials. These officials include HUPD, OSAPR counselors, HUHS counselors, SASH Advisers, your Resident Dean, or any other University counselor. Reporting the incident to local police is also an option, and assistance is available in notifying these authorities.

If you have been the victim of a rape or indecent assault and battery, the HUPD strongly recommends one of the following:

Getting Help

Students will find their resident Deans, the College Dean’s office, and the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR) helpful and supportive. These offices will provide assistance in changing academic and living arrangements in response to the incident if appropriate. You are strongly encouraged to report instances of rape or indecent assault and battery to these or other University officials. The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and schools within the University offer a variety of written materials, workshops, and other activities to promote awareness of the seriousness of sexual offenses, including rape, acquaintance rape, and indecent assault and battery. For more information on OSAPR and the resources offered please call (49) 5–9100 or visit www.fas.harvard.edu/~osapr/.

Options for Further Action


As a victim of rape or indecent assault and battery, you may want your assailant identified, apprehended and prosecuted in court. If you choose to proceed in this manner, notify HUPD immediately for assistance and guidance.


You may also choose not to prosecute your assailant. There is no law in Massachusetts requiring a rape victim to prosecute.

Disciplinary Procedures

If the alleged offender is a Harvard affiliate, you may report the incident to a University officer to file a complaint against the perpetrator under the applicable Harvard disciplinary procedure. The Dean’s Office, Office for Student Affairs, or Human Resources Office in your school or department can provide advice. You may initiate a disciplinary process whether or not you seek to prosecute.

Reported rape and other sexual misconduct by students, faculty, or staff are grounds for initiating disciplinary procedures. Since these procedures vary among schools and administrative departments, you should consult the Dean’s office in your school or the appropriate administrative office in your school or department for information on applicable processes.

The accuser and accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding. University-imposed sanctions for rape, sexual assault, or other sex offenses will vary depending on the nature and severity of the offense, and may include penalties up to termination of student status or Harvard employment. Both the accuser and the accused shall be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sex offense.

Resources for Advice and Counseling

The University and various social service providers in Cambridge and Boston offer a range of counseling and support services for victims of rape and indecent assault and battery. If you choose not to take advantage of these resources immediately, at the very least you should find a friend, counselor, or other support person to comfort you and to help you deal with the experience. That person should be with you throughout the crisis situation and follow-up, and should help you regain a sense of control over events.

Harvard Resources

The staffs at HUPD and HUHS are well trained to aid students, faculty, and staff who are victims of rape or sexual assault. In addition, each school has administrative officers and counselors available to help. These individuals can be identified through the office for student affairs in each school, or through the Harvard College Dean’s Office. Other on-campus resources include:

External Resources:

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is any of the following behaviors: physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, alone or in combination, by an intimate partner often for the purpose of establishing or maintaining power and control over the other partner. The HUPD takes reports of domestic violence very seriously and each report will be investigated fully. In any domestic violence situation, the safety of the victim and any involved children is paramount.

Domestic violence occurs in heterosexual relationships, as well as in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships. Whether the victim is male or female, violence of any kind in relationships is unacceptable. Domestic violence affects people from every age, racial or ethnic background, religious group, neighborhood, and income level.

If you are a victim of abuse and need treatment or referral, call SafeLink, a Massachusetts statewide multilingual, 24-hour service hotline at 877-785-2020. For more resources on domestic violence please visit the HUPD Website, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR) at 617-495-9100 (24 hours), the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, Jane Doe Inc., or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

If you are in immediate danger and need help, call the HUPD at 617-495-1212.

Hate Crimes

The HUPD is committed to protecting the state and federal civil rights of all individuals. Any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes designed to infringe upon a person’s civil rights will be treated seriously and given high priority. The HUPD will use every necessary resource to identify the perpetrators rapidly and decisively, and to arrest and prosecute them while at all times taking into consideration the victim’s desire on how to proceed.

Massachusetts General Laws defines a hate crime as a crime in which the perpetrator’s conduct is motivated, in whole or in part, by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of another group or individual.

If you feel that you have been the victim of a hate crime or bias-related incident, please contact the HUPD immediately at 617-495-1212 to report the incident.


The HUPD takes reports of harassment very seriously and each report will be investigated fully. There are three types of harassment under Massachusetts General Laws:

Harassment can take the form of personal contact, mail, telephone calls, email, facsimiles and Internet communication. The specific action taken in any particular case depends on the nature and gravity of the conduct reported, and may include intervention, mediation, and the initiation of disciplinary processes or criminal prosecution, when appropriate. Where harassment is found to have occurred, HUPD will act to stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

At all times, the investigation will be conducted in a way that respects, to the extent possible, the privacy of all the persons involved.

If you feel that you are being harassed or threatened in any way, it is important that you call the HUPD immediately at 617-495-1212.

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Program

The Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Program taught by HUPD officers empowers female students, faculty, and staff to combat various types of assaults by providing them with realistic self-defense tactics and techniques. This empowerment is taught through four basic principles: education, dependency on self, making one’s own decisions, and realization of one’s own power. The objective of RAD is to develop and enhance self-defense options for women. The course begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training. The classes provide women with the knowledge to make educated decisions about resistance.

For more information about RAD on campus or to determine when the next course will run, please contact the RAD Coordinator.

Medical Emergencies

Students should dial 911 for medical assistance in any life-threatening situation. The HUPD responds to all medical emergencies and provides medical transports to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) 24 hours a day. By law, however, the HUPD cannot transport non-ambulatory students in police vehicles. If they are unable to transport the victim, they will provide emergency medical treatment until trained medical professionals arrive. Urgent medical assistance is available 24 hours a day at HUHS.