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UC Berkeley hires private security firm after fatal shooting near campus stirs safety concerns

The University of California at Berkeley has hired a private security firm to patrol an area around campus following a fatal shooting near the school earlier this month that has heightened concerns about crime.

In a statement, the university said it contracted with Treeline Security, a private company based out of San Francisco, to conduct daily evening patrols from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. south of the campus near several UC Berkeley dormitories. Reports of crime in and around the area since the start of the semester have shaken parents and students of the university.

The three-person team began patrols on Oct. 14 and will continue for at least one month as UC Berkeley ramps up its own security staffing, the university said in a statement.

“UC Berkeley is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community,” the statement said. “As part of our safety enhancement efforts, we have enlisted private vendor Treeline Security to temporarily increase our security presence during nighttime.”

Treeline Security employees are “sworn and retired law enforcement, active military, professional security experts, and event and project management consultants,” according to the company’s website.

A Berkeley spokesperson said that the team patrols on foot and will monitor the area around Units 1, 2 and 3 on the south side of campus along Durant Street and Haste Street.

The team will “observe and report information to UCPD” on a temporary basis until more campus staff is hired, the university said.

The patrol’s arrival follows a shooting on Oct. 8 that left one man dead and three others wounded near Telegraph and Durant avenues. No students were involved, according to the university.

The Berkeley Scanner, a local news outlet, reported that students’ parents have been organizing since September and pressuring the university and local officials to do more to address safety and crime issues, including increasing police funding and hiring private security.

The Scanner reported that since the semester began, there have been incidents of trespassing into student housing as well as armed robbery and anti-Asian attacks in the neighborhood south of campus where the new patrol is operating.

The university said the Treeline team is a temporary backstop while it expands its campus security, including hiring trained students to monitor residence halls, filling two vacancies for uniformed UCPD officers and bringing on additional community service officers.

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