The UCSB Alert system was created to enhance and promote safety on campus by providing students, faculty, and staff with timely access to important information. The system sends two types of communications to the campus community, Timely Warnings and Emergency Notifications, as required by the Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act. The Clery Act requires federally-funded universities to share information about campus crime and safety, and requires issuing alerts for certain incidents that happen on campus or on campus-associated property (see Clery Act Geography).
Timely Warnings are issued when a report is received of certain crimes (see Clery Act Crime Definitions) on UCSB-associated property (see Clery Act Geography), and the reported incident represents a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. Even if the university does not have all the facts surrounding the incident, a timely warning must still be sent as soon as pertinent information is available. In addition to warning community members, these alerts can aid in crime prevention. The decision to issue a Timely Warning is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts surrounding the Clery Act crime, including, but not limited to, such factors as: the nature of the crime, the serious or continuing threat to the campus community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
Emergency Notifications have a wider focus than the Timely Warnings and are issued for any significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. Examples of types of situations that may warrant an Emergency Notification include an active shooter, bomb threat, natural disaster, etc. The purpose of Emergency Notifications is to provide life-saving information and instructions during an active emergency situation.
Recent alerts sent to campus can be found at UCSB Alert History.
For alerts and information about incidents that occur outside of Clery geography (e.g., Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara) the campus community is encouraged to sign up for ReadySBC Alerts from the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office at https://www.readysbc.org/.
The UCSB Police Department would also like to remind you that the safety of our campus is a shared responsibility. All students, faculty, and staff play an important role in enhancing campus safety by being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to UCPD at 805-893-3446. Community members are also encouraged to use the Community Service Officer (CSO) Safety Escort Service Program when walking alone on campus or in Isla Vista. This is a free service offered by the UCSB Police Department and may accessed by calling (805) 893-2000 or the UCSB police dispatch at (805) 893-3446.
Frequently Asked Questions
Timely Warnings are issued when a UCSB Campus Security Authority (CSA) receives notice that a “Clery crime” occurred on “Clery geography” that, in the professional opinion of law enforcement, represents an ongoing threat to the campus community. (A CSA is a person responsible for campus security or student and campus activities.) Even if the university does not have all the facts surrounding the incident, a timely warning must still be sent as soon as pertinent information is available.
Timely warnings are issued after a report is received that certain Clery crimes occurred within UCSB’s Clery geography, to alert our campus community of an ongoing threat. An Emergency Notification is issued when a crime or other emergency is ongoing and poses a threat to campus (e.g., an active shooter, a chemical leak, fire), to alert our campus community of an immediate threat, and provide potential life-saving safety steps.
The Clery Act prohibits institutions from including a victim’s personally-identifiable information in a Timely Warning. This includes a victim’s name, date of birth, and other information that would lead to the identification of a victim.
First, Timely Warnings are sent only when a reported incident represents a continuing threat to the community, so that people can take steps to protect themselves. We don’t want to send so many communications that people get annoyed and stop reading the emails.
Second, there may not be any follow-up information to provide. Often times, there is no law enforcement investigation or UCPD may not be informed of the identity of the offender(s), so there would be no follow-up about an arrest or prosecution. In the event there is a law enforcement investigation, follow-up information is typically provided on UCPD’s Daily Crime & Fire Log.
UCPD is the office on campus that is charged with coordinating Clery Act compliance and has the capability to immediately send communications campus-wide. Timely Warnings are a requirement of the Clery Act. In an effort to respect a victim’s right to not report to law enforcement, a police investigation is typically not initiated without the consent of the victim.
The majority of crimes that occur on and around campus will NOT result in a Timely Warning or Emergency Notification. Timely Warnings are only sent for reports of Clery crimes that occur on Clery geography and present an ongoing threat to the campus community. Property crimes won’t typically lead to a Timely Warning unless there is a distinct pattern of related incidents. Crimes that occur outside of Clery geography, such as crimes occurring in Isla Vista, will typically not lead to a Timely Warning. Emergency incidents that occur in Isla Vista or the surrounding community may result in an Emergency Notification if there is a specifically identifiable threat to campus, such as an active shooter headed toward campus.
There are other ways to stay informed about safety on and around campus. UCPD maintains a Daily Crime & Fire Log, which is updated every business day. It includes all crimes reported to UCPD that occur on campus, in UCSB's Clery Geography, and in UCPD’s patrol jurisdiction.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) is not subject to the Clery Act and does not issue Timely Warnings or Emergency Notifications, but SBSO routinely releases information about crimes in the county on its website (link is external). Registering for Nixle alerts (link is external) for Goleta is a great way to stay informed about crimes and safety in Isla Vista. Local news media often provide information about crimes in Isla Vista as well. Register for Nixle alerts for Goleta or Santa Barbara at: https://local.nixle.com/city/