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Students Asked to Look Out for One Another After Weekend Crimes

BU stepping up communication on public safety incidents

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Two crimes near campus — one a robbery and attempted assault, the other a robbery and sexual assault — took place last weekend, prompting the Boston University Police Department and the Office of the Dean of Students to encourage students to use caution and travel in groups when they are out at night.

The first incident took place at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, near 463 Park Drive in South Campus. A School of Law student reported that while she was walking on Park Drive, a tall, heavyset man stepped out from behind a U-Haul truck and demanded her purse. The student said that the suspect then searched through her clothing to locate her wallet, took the wallet, and fled.

The second incident took place at approximately 2:10 a.m. on Sunday, March 30, on Crowninshield Road. A student was reportedly sitting on a building stoop using her cell phone when the suspect, a male, approached her, robbed her, and sexually assaulted her. The student was taken to Beth Israel Hospital and returned to her residence by the BUPD the next morning. The BUPD has been collaborating with the Boston and Brookline Police Departments on an investigation of both incidents, and patrols in the neighborhood have increased.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore urges students to take increased responsibility for one another when they are out at night, on- or off-campus.

“I think it would go a long way if, when BU students see each other out, they say, ‘Hey, how are you getting home? Do you need us to walk with you, get back with you?’” Elmore says. “We do want people to go out and enjoy the city — they shouldn’t be afraid, but they should be cautious.”

A letter from Thomas Robbins, Boston University’s chief of police, was sent to students today, informing them of the incidents. It is the second warning letter the chief has sent since students returned from spring break on March 17; however, Elmore and Robbins emphasize that the increased communication from the University does not indicate a broad public safety problem at BU.

“Knowledge is an important part of this,” Elmore says. “When we give you information, we try to tell you a little about the circumstance and hope that people will change their behavior so they’re not caught in the same circumstance. I think it’s far worse to not let students know about these crimes and not give them an opportunity to make some real, reasoned decisions.”

The number of robberies and sexual assaults reported to the BUPD between January 1 and March 30 has increased over the same time last year; there were two sexual assaults reported this year, compared to none in the same period in 2007, and there were four robberies reported, compared to one in 2007. The number of assaults and aggravated assaults reported remained the same — six and two, respectively, in both years — and the number of property crimes, including burglaries and larcenies, has dropped significantly, from 139 to 61.

“Our goal is not to scare people,” Elmore says. “But as a tactic to addressing criminal behavior, it’s important to use the eyes and ears of the community. We hope people will tell us about things they notice, and we’ll work with local agencies to bring those concerns forward.”

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.

11 Comments

11 Comments on Students Asked to Look Out for One Another After Weekend Crimes

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 7:39 am

    Shootings early Saturday morning

    Why haven’t students been informed about the two shootings that happened on Saturday in Allston and Central square, if being informed is so important???

  • Another female on 04.01.2008 at 9:17 am

    USE COMMON SENCE

    How can we “EDUCATE” all girls to use their COMMON SENCE? Why would you come outside to talk on the phone at 2:02am knowing it is NOT safe. This is not the first time these assults happen and we, students and community, have been worn many times to use caution. This is ridiculous! LADIES, please USE YOUR HEADS, the cell phone conversation can cost you life and life of others. STOP putting yourselves in danger and others! Thank you for listening! – student cohort

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 9:26 am

    PLEASE protect yourself first

    They are not the news agency to communicate of every shooting happened. It is our responsibility to stay informed and be careful. We are in University and not in prison. I dont want to be told of every bad thing. I know enough to protect myself and possibly help others, but I dont want to hear all these assults and shootings. If our students would not walk in parks at night and not talk on the phones at 2:02am then maybe the crime will go down. Common people, we have to do something for ourselves ONCE AND FOR ALL. Stop relying on POLICE to protect you! Stop BLAMING others for these crimes! We indirectly cause these things to be happing to us. PLEASE lets use our BRAINS. We are adults!

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 9:41 am

    Knowledge is Power

    For the amount of time that students spend in the area where they live when they attend college, do they investigate/learn about the areas where they frequent? One thing you can do is to pick up the Allston/Brighton Tab, the local newspaper. They have a crime log every week, plus a map where you can see where the incidents occur. Note the crimes or lack of them in your area and act accordingly.

    As for Central Square, it is one place where you need to be careful after dark or, better yet, stay away from completely. It is *notorious* for robberies, drunks and drug addicts/dealers. Cambridge Police patrol and do the best they can, but you need to be aware. A young woman alone should NEVER WALK IN CENTRAL SQUARE ALONE. Even with another woman, you might be taking your chances.

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 10:38 am

    BU Med campus

    If BU is so concerned with keeping its students safe…they should keep ALL their students safe. What do I mean? I mean that the students that are on the Medical Campus in the South End, have less security than the main campus. I found out recently that we dont have the same police escort system that the undergrad campus has. If we need a ride or an escort from a policeman to our cars at night, we are left out in the cold apparently. I had a good friend of mine who was forced to walk through a bad area at 11pm to get to her car because when she tried to call the police escort service, she was informed that only the undergraduate campus has this service. I guess the graduate students are not as important as the undergraduate students here at BU…

    • Anonymous on 02.01.2010 at 5:15 am

      why don’t you call BU escorts…. they walk everywhere throughout the campus…

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 10:44 am

    Not on or near Campus

    I think it’s because neither of those areas are close to campus.

  • Karla on 04.01.2008 at 11:05 am

    A lot of these robberies also seem to be happening in or around south campus. As a south campus resident, I know I’d feel a lot better if instead of primarily patrolling up and down Comm Ave and Beacon (streets that are highly lit and usually have a few open stores, taxis and people around), BUPD would add a few more patrol cars in the south campus area (i.e. Park, Mountfort, Busswell, St. Mary’s and even further down towards farther BU housing).

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 11:45 am

    Because the administration obviously doesn’t want to play that up. We might look like an unruly urban campus!

    This is a city. Violent crime happens. This is not St. Louis. This is not Detroit. This is not Bodymore, or DC. I’ll take a few stabbings and shootings and (ferKrissake) muggings over the problems those cities have.

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 12:42 pm

    Has South Campus been forgotten?

    Try sending a police car over to South!!! Seriously, what is the problem? Every time a robbery or assault is successful, it encourages more people to come over here and do it some more.

  • Anonymous on 04.01.2008 at 5:13 pm

    I do agree with the need for students (especially female students) to pay attention while out at night. Look for warning signs in every situation; be alert to your surroundings.

    Nothing about this report suggests that these two individuals weren’t being careful; however, vigilance is always important. Because it helps maintain awareness, I am glad that the BUPD are taking the time to warn the student community about such incidents.

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