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Students Report Street Crimes in Allston

University bolsters police presence west of campus

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With crime rising west of campus, Boston University Police officers will work more closely with Boston Police. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

After an unsettling increase in reports from students of crimes such as assault and robbery in the Allston neighborhood just west of campus, University officials have hired Boston Police officers to increase the frequency of weekend patrols through Commencement. Boston University police are also working closely with Boston Police to crack down on the rash of crime.

University Police Chief Thomas Robbins says he considers the added police presence a step in the right direction, but he hopes also that students will respond to the apparent risk by being more cautious, especially at night. Robbins says that while Boston Police Department statistics show a significant decrease in crime in the district that includes the neighborhood west of campus compared to recent years, he and other officials were moved to take action by reports from students of assaults and robberies.

In an e-mail message sent to students last night, Robbins and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore describe the increased vigilance and urge students to travel with others — especially at night — to remain alert, to walk in well-lit and heavily traveled areas, to avoid alleys and deserted lots, and to be cautious of strangers.

“It’s a dual message,” says Elmore. “We are doing what we can do to be helpful, but we also need people to do a gut-check and ask themselves if they are doing everything they can do to be safe.”

“People know what the issues are,” says Elmore. “They may drink too much and not have a way home. People have to plan ahead to know that they will be safe.” He says students who live in the neighborhood should be respectful of their neighbors and should get to know the local police. “Those are just basic civic responsibilities,” he says. “They’re things that people in any neighborhood should be doing.”

Peter Fiedler (COM’77), vice president for administrative services, says the streets directly west of West Campus, including Gardner, Ashford, and Pratt Streets, have become an enclave of students from BU and other schools. He says University officials hope the added police presence will “make it not as inviting to become intoxicated.”

The Boston Police Department is currently investigating the alleged beating of a BU student by a group of men near 44 Gardner Street around 2:30 a.m. in early April. And in a separate case, a group of BU students allegedly vandalized several cars along Allston streets, ripping off antennas, smashing windows, and flattening tires.

Robbins says students routinely surge west of campus on spring and fall nights looking for entertainment in bars and for student parties. In recent weeks, he says, University officers have tripled alcohol patrols around West Campus — checking for underage drinkers and students with fake IDs and aiding students who need medical assistance.

“University police will do everything they can to prevent crime,” says Robbins. “But ultimately it’s up to students to protect themselves. Your safety is your responsibility. Just use common sense.”

Additional information is available at the campus safety Web site or the Boston University Police Department site, where a weekly crime log is posted. Contact the BUPD at bupd@bu.edu or 617-353-2121 and the Office of the Dean of Students at dos@bu.edu or 617-353-4126 with any concerns or questions.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on twitter @lesliefriday.

8 Comments

8 Comments on Students Report Street Crimes in Allston

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 6:29 am

    Here’s an idea: when students aren’t on school grounds they are no longer the responsibility of Boston University. Though often young, dumb and drunk, college students are also adults. I understand that, on campus, BU has an obligation to protect its undergrads from the evils of the world, but students living in off-campus housing can either take responsibility for their own safety or rely on the local police–just like every other adult in the city. BU “hiring” cops to patrol Allston is a completely unnecessary endeavor founded on fear and paternalism, and I’m pretty sure our tuition dollars could be put to a better cause–maybe one related to education.

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 9:37 am

    It's about time!

    I live on Ashford street and I definitely welcome the added police. My car and house have each been vandalized but worse than that is fearing for my wife as she walks home from work or class every night and the trash that the weekend partiers leave behind. I hate sounding like an old person (i’m a 29 yr old grad student) but I can’t wait until summer when all these kids go home!
    Now if we could only figure out how to get the people who actually live on the street to take care of their own neighborhood!

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 10:18 am

    I’m grateful to BU for the increased patrols in neighborhoods near the campus. This is not just a perk for those who live off campus. As stated in the article, many on-campus students choose to venture off campus for a variety of activities. Safety on and nearby campus is what I hope the large tuition/housing costs purchase!

  • PK on 04.15.2010 at 10:30 am

    That whole Pratt/Ashford area is a stinkhole. It could really benefit from some “broken-windows theory” action. *Some* students, surely, would prefer it be safer and cleaner — listen to the grad student commenter above (below?). Those few students, and whatever few long-term residents are left there (you can identify them by the houses that have flowers out front and don’t look like complete cesspits), and the police need to work together. And the City needs to crack down on those lazy, irresponsible slumlords who own most of the houses!! How about a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy re: safety and sanitary violations? You don’t want to put in the work required, you don’t deserve to own property.

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 11:09 am

    Here’s another idea: BU students need to take responsibility for their actions. Who do you think is causing the increase in crime? You say we are ‘adults’, but you yourself gave a list of reasons why we are NOT like every other adult in the city–we’re young, dumb, and drunk.

    That leads to loudness and irresponsibility. We’ve all heard stories about students getting trashed, and then creating havoc for other people. We steal things, we vandalize, we get way too drunk and generally cause a ruckus. The increased presence may be protecting students from crime, but more importantly, it’s protecting the city from us.

    Don’t blame BU for using our money unnecessarily; blame your peers who think its funny to steal street signs and smash empty bottles on the street.

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 11:34 am

    Drinking off campus

    Better yet, don’t be so strict on drinking rules at the dorms. We’re going to drink anyway. The ridiculous fines given at the dorms just encourage us to drink off campus even if we don’t have a safe way home. If you’re trying to keep us safe, loosen up the rules at the dorms

  • Anonymous on 04.15.2010 at 1:07 pm

    Please drink off campus!

    “Better yet, don’t be so strict on drinking rules at the dorms. We’re going to drink anyway. The ridiculous fines given at the dorms just encourage us to drink off campus even if we don’t have a safe way home. If you’re trying to keep us safe, loosen up the rules at the dorms”

    I would rather students drink off campus then on it. In my personal experience, students who are inebriated are loud and inconsiderate of others. Please continue to party in Allston; I do not want that sort of noise in my living environment.

    At the same time, I will not feel bad for anyone who brings danger upon themselves. That is merely one of the risks one must acknowledge which comes with drinking, underage or not.

  • M on 11.08.2011 at 10:10 am

    Omg…just listen to yourselves…the ones who want to drink….get over it. It’s the law..not BU’s law. Respect it like an adult just like other laws out there. It’s just a drink…maturity comes with adulthood when you can equate having a good time and relaxing with not having to drink alcohol. it’s really not that big a deal. I am happy to see tuition dollars going towards to protecting students, their property etc whether drunk or not. Its a public safety issue, unfortunately, and I’d rather see that than a new shrub planted. It’s refreshing to read comments from students who are underage and are mature enough to realize they arent there to simply party.

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