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Policing at Penn

Community Based Policing

On any given day in the Penn patrol zone, there are approximately 125,000 people studying, working, living, visiting or simply passing through the area. Policing an open, urban, multicultural and densely-populated university environment such as Penn requires at the core, a strong commitment to the philosophy of community-based policing practices. The primary policing functions of the University of Pennsylvania Police Department are law enforcement, order maintenance and service, but underscoring each of these complex functions, first and foremost, is the belief that the UPPD needs the support of the community which it serves for effective crime prevention and control. Community needs and crime-prevention tactics are identified in partnership between the UPPD and its constituents, and discussed and reinforced at every level within the UPPD, from the patrol officer to the Superintendent of Police. Other components of the community policing strategy include:

Emphasizing the enforcement of public order and quality of life crimes, such as panhandling, disorder, graffiti, public disturbances, traffic violations, obstruction of highway, defiant trespass, skateboarding 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 lines to the Division of Public Safety, via phone and email; and continuous education for the Penn student, staff and faculty bodies.
Attending over ten community meetings in University City per month in which University residents can share their concerns, fears and questions about safety and crime.

Dedicated Detectives 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 rank 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.

College House Detective Liaison Program

For the Penn community in particular, UPPD Commanders, Supervisors and Detectives have institutionalized a liaison relationship with various resource centers and divisions, including the following, in which assigned members of the UPPD meet regularly with academic and administrative leaders to provide support, answer questions, and function as a first responder to problems and concerns associated with each respective entity:

  • All college house residences under CHAS (two detectives per house)
  • All cultural resource centers (LGBT Center., GIC, La Casa, MAKUU, PAACH, and the Women’s Center)
  • Office of Affirmative Action
  • Office of Student Conduct
  • CAPS
  • African-American Resource Center
  • Athletics
  • Alumni Relations

The Division of Public Safety embraces the motto, “Safety and security is a shared responsibility” and the members of the UPPD work diligently through open dialogue, transparency and collaboration, to deliver the highest quality of service and protection for every valued community member in the Penn and University City area.

  • Emergencies


  • General Information


  • Campus Phones


4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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