UC Berkeley is a prestigious university, known for a lot of number-one-rankings. For a couple of years, US News ranked Berkeley as the top public university in the country. Unfortunately, Berkeley has some less prestigious rankings as well. Cal has recently been named as the top UC school when it comes to robbery.
According to a CBS news story, most of the robberies occur just off campus as students are walking at night to their off-campus housing, with a concentration of the thefts on the south side of campus. Many students are afraid to walk home at night, and call an Uber or taxi for the short ride home.
A study by Smartclass.com showed Berkeley has the highest robbery rate of any school in California. Berkeley has an estimated 11.979 robberies per 10,000 students. The next highest robbery rate for a California university is the University of the Pacific, with 6.345 robberies per 10,000 students.
Last year by this time, there were about 165 robberies reported to the Berkeley Police Department, which was a sharp increase over the prior year. This year, the number of robberies reported is about the same as 2015. However, in July alone, the number of robberies is higher than usual. In May, 9 robberies were reported in a 2-day period.
The East Bay News recently reported Berkeley residents had five robberies within a 2-hour period. It started at around 10 p.m. when two individuals robbed two pedestrians at gunpoint. A strong-arm robbery followed a few minutes later. Within the next couple of hours, three different incidents involved individuals being robbed when the suspects flashed a handgun.
According to Berkeley police officer Andrew Frankel, this represented a significant spike in robberies. Normally, Berkeley will have five or six robberies in a week. "This was five in one night,” said Sergeant Frankel, “and that's what makes this particular series unusual."
Fortunately, none of the victims were harmed in this series of robberies. Police believe 5 of the 6 incidents were related, all centered near the Berkeley campus. Police recommend pedestrians try and walk in groups, be aware of their surroundings, stay in well-lit and popular areas, and keep phones and other devices tucked away.
Robbery is a serious charge in California, especially if a firearm is involved. Robbery is a felony under California Penal Code 211, and can result in up to 9 years in prison. Unfortunately for many people arrested for robbery, they are innocent victims of false identification, often finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Prosecutors can make them feel like they have no alternative but to plead guilty, unless they have an attorney who will fight for them.
An arrest for theft, robbery, or burglary does not mean that you are guilty. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals facing criminal charges in the East Bay. With over 30 years of criminal defense experience, Lynn Gorelick understands what it means to fight for you. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who will stand up for your rights, so you can keep a clean record and stay out of jail.