The Harvard University Police Department has been working in conjunction with the Cambridge Police Department this semester to increase policing during the weekends around the University campus.
After rumors abounded of a police crackdown during the first two weekends of the semester and students reported greater numbers of police officers patrolling Mt. Auburn Street last weekend, HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano and CPD spokesperson Daniel M. Riviello officially confirmed the increased police presence in and around Harvard Square in an emailed statement to the Crimson.
Catalano and Riviello explained that “Harvard University Police Department has been taking a more visible and proactive stance on weekend nights during the early part of this semester.”
According to the statement, HUPD requested CPD assistance due to “jurisdictional issues.”
HUPD does not have jurisdiction over any property-owning student organizations unaffiliated with the College, such as the final clubs and fraternities, which are popular destinations for students on weekend nights.
Catalano and Riviello said that the two police departments have always had, and continue to have, a close working relationship and are now striving to address “off-campus behavior reportedly involving Harvard University students and their visitors.”
The statement specifies that this presence applies particularly to “situations involving alcohol use.”
In a separate email to the Crimson, Riviello wrote that the recent increase in police presence is not a response to student infractions. Rather, he explained, the move is part of an effort to better safeguard student safety, particularly with regard to alcohol consumption. He added that the Cambridge Police Department has not yet made any student arrests this year.
“Our presence this year is of a more proactive nature, rather than being reactive and responding to calls for service and other issues,” he wrote.
According Riviello, it is unclear whether or not the increased policing will be a permanent fixture of Harvard nightlife for the rest of the semester.
The statement issued by Catalano and Riviello acknowledges police presence “on weekend nights during the early part of the semester,” but does not comment upon the duration of increased police presence on Harvard campus.
—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at email@example.com.