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Policing at Penn

Police Officer chatting with a student

Community-Based Policing

Over 125,000 people study, work, live, and visit within the Penn Patrol Zone on a given day. Safety and Security in an open, urban, multicultural and densely-populated university environment such as Penn requires at the core, a strong commitment to community-based policing practices. The primary responsibilities of the University of Pennsylvania Police Department are law enforcement, order maintenance and service. First and foremost in our organization’s success, is the support of the community we serve for effective crime prevention. Community feedback and input about our crime-prevention programs are critical to building a successful program. This philosophy is reinforced at every level within the UPPD, from the patrol officer to the Chief of Police.

Other components of the community policing strategy include:

  • Emphasizing the enforcement of public order and quality of life issues, such as public disturbances, traffic violations, defiant trespass, and retail and bicycle thefts.
  • Identifying, analyzing, and responding to conditions underlying various types of crime through problem-oriented and evidence-based policing.
  • Increasing the level of accountability and transparency of police practices through:
    • community surveys;
    • rigorous data collection regarding all interactions between the UPPD and its citizenry;
    • accessibility of citizen complaints against police;
    • feedback to the Division of Public Safety, in person, via phone, and email;
    • continuous education for the Penn student, staff and faculty bodies.
  • Providing outreach services to those experiencing homelessness or substance dependency.
  • Attending community meetings throughout University City in which residents can share their concerns, fears, and questions about safety and crime. Connecting the community to resources to best support them is important to our mission.

A Quote and Image Section

“I want to applaud the work of [Penn Police]…The officers were patient, compassionate, and professional in their interactions…[the officers] handled the situation in ways to deescalate…and with a spirit of wanting to help.”
Penn Community Member

Dedicated Detective Unit

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department’s Detective Unit is a full-service squad comprised of the Deputy Chief of Investigations, 2 Detective Supervisors and 12 Detectives. Services include Criminal Investigations, Offender Processing and crime scene examinations.

The UPPD Detective Bureau is proud to have clearance rates for burglaries and robberies consistently higher than the average national clearance rates for the same crimes. The Detective Unit also provides Dignitary Protection for the many important University of Pennsylvania VIP’s both local and from around the globe who visit our campus.

UPPD Detectives by the Numbers.

Recovered Items
Solve Rate
Community Commendations

Reporting a Crime

You are encouraged to make a report of a crime to the Penn Police by filling out the report a crime form.  Should you wish to keep your name or the victim’s name confidential we understand, however we would appreciate it if you still reported the incident.  The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of yourself and others.  With such information, the University can keep accurate records of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger.

You may report a crime in person, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at the DPS Headquarters: 4040 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, or by calling 215-573-3333. You may also use our online form. This form is not monitored 24//7.

Learn additional information about crime reporting on our Clery page, or reach out to Public Safety’s Office of the Vice President via email or call 215-898-7515.