Group of UC Berkeley parents hires private security company to protect their children

For 17 days, several SafeBears workers patrolled the university campuses at night, costing parents $42,000.

A group of UC Berkeley parents hired a private security company to protect their children. For 17 days, several SafeBears workers patrolled the university campuses at night. Several students' parents paid a total of $42,000 for this service.

Specifically, six SafeBears employees were hired to make rounds on campus from March 6 to 23 dressed in bright yellow uniforms. They did not carry any weapons. They patrolled from 6:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. A group of parents was concerned for their children's safety due to a recent increase in crime on campus.

Founder of SafeBears Sagar Jethan told the Los Angeles Times that the service was hired at the request of parents as a pilot program that could be officially implemented later: "There were some requests for service, escorts or directions. But really the number one service these guys provided was just their physical presence being a deterrent to crime," said Jethani.

Berkeley is against hiring an external security company

However, the university does not agree with the parents. Although it has not taken any action to increase security on campus, it also does not seem willing to let SafeBears workers patrol the security vicinity. According to a statement, the program "raises a number of concerns including the training and experience of individuals hired by such firms."

In addition, it argued that any additional security measures should be coordinated with the University of California Police Department, regardless of whether it was a private initiative. "A holistic approach to campus safety is required and is the most effective approach."

Along with this, university officials recommended that parents increase their donations to the university instead of hiring private services so the greater funds could be used to improve campus security:

Parents who want to donate funds toward additional campus security can do so via a university fund that has been established. We do not believe that private security should take precedence over hiring sworn officers.