BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — The crime rate on and around the University of California’s Berkeley campus has students afraid to walk home.
Most of the violent attacks and robberies happen outside of the campus, as students are walking to their off-campus housing.
Nick Daneshvari is a Junior at Cal. He and a friend were robbed and attacked while walking home on Ellsworth Street.
“He suddenly grabbed at my shirt and we stumbled backward and fell on to the ground, so he was standing over us,” Daneshvari. “(He) said that he had a gun and to give him all of our stuff. We didn’t see a gun but we weren’t going to play the odds so we just gave him our stuff.”
The pair handed over their backpacks, money and a laptop.
“My heart was beating fast and everything. I was just really nervous and tense. But yeah, even afterward, when we started walking, I was kind of shaky and stuff,” he continued.
The south side of the UC campus has always been a hot spot for robberies.
On Monday, Berkeley police officers responded to five separate pedestrian robberies in the span of two hours. On Thursday, police released a photo of a man suspected of groping a female student on campus in hopes the public could help them catch him.
“I try very hard not to get out late,” says Ciara McCaffrey, a sophomore. “If I get out late, I might just call an Uber to go home. I wouldn’t walk home.”
Another study showed that when it comes to overall crime, including things like burglaries and sexual assaults, Cal has the second highest crime rate among California universities. Stanford ranked number one.
Some students say they’re not surprised. They get campus email alerts almost daily.
“I get the emails 3 to 4 a week, describing sexual assaults and robberies in that area,” says McCaffrey.
“Since the incident has happened, I actually moved to the safer side of campus. That’s helped a bit,” says Daneshvari.
Meanwhile, police remind students to stay vigilant and avoid walking late at night since robbers have even targeted people walking in pairs.