Students Asked to Look Out for One Another After Weekend Crimes
BU stepping up communication on public safety incidents
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 email@example.com Comments