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Campus Life + Health & Wellness

Two Students Robbed of Cell Phones

No one hurt in bold daylight assault outside FitRec

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Scott Paré, BU’s deputy director of public safety, says that neither of the two students was injured and no weapons were seen. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Two BU students were robbed of their cell phones yesterday afternoon as they left the FitRec Center shortly before 4 p.m. Scott Paré, BU’s deputy director of public safety, says the students, both male, were approached by two males, who asked if they had ever been shot before. The assailants demanded the students’ cell phones, and the students handed them over. One student was also robbed of his BU ID. According to Paré, neither student was injured and no weapons were seen.

The robbers fled on foot in opposite directions, one heading up Commonwealth Avenue outbound, and one running down Agganis Way.

The students went to the BU Police Station and reported the incident. Paré says that BU Police are assisting Boston Police, who took an incident report, in their efforts to apprehend the robbers.

Police describe the suspects as two black males, 20 to 25 years old. One suspect is described as 60", 220 to 230 pounds, with very short hair, wearing a very large black zip-up jacket and dark jeans. The other is believed to be 58", 180 to 190 pounds, wearing a large beige zip-up jacket with “G-Unit” written across the front.

In July, two female students were robbed and roughed up in separate incidents near the Shaw’s supermarket on Comm Ave. In both cases, the women were walking alone after midnight, talking on their cell phones.

“Both victims had an iPhone,” Paré told BU Today at the time. “They are attractive pieces of equipment. One of the victims lost her pocketbook, as well.”

Shortly after those robberies, BU Today interviewed Paré for advice on how students can better protect themselves when they are out and about. Following is that interview.

BU Today: Does a cell phone make you more of a target?
Paré
: Walking around talking on your cell phone after midnight probably isn’t the best way to keep your wits about you. You want to be aware of your surroundings, especially at night when your senses should be more keen. Your cell phone is a huge distraction. I know I’ve been places where you’re on your cell phone and you go from point A to point B and forget what happened in between. You arrive at your destination and say, “How did I get here?” The same with headphones. You can’t hear anything around because you have the music blaring. You can’t hear traffic, trains, someone on a bike. You’d never hear someone running up behind you.

What precautions should students take at night?
It would help if you walk with somebody, because you’re less of a target. Try and stay in a well-lit, well-traveled area. Avoid those dark alleys. If you know you’re going to be walking home late, make plans in advance so you can walk home with somebody.

Do college students have a false sense of security?
The crime rate is very low on this campus. With that you have this feeling of comfort, which is great, but you do end up letting your guard down. It’s a double-edged sword.

Is BU a popular target for thieves?
BU is certainly an appealing place. The university environment, in general, is. The population is large. Thieves know students have laptops and other electronic devices. Unfortunately, kids leave them unattended; 90 to 95 percent of theft reports we review are “unattendeds,” meaning leaving your laptop or iPhone at your desk while you go for a break or a coffee. The same with leaving your room and offices unlocked. It’s not just students. It’s faculty and staff, too. You go down the hall for five minutes and something’s missing from your office. Larceny is the highest crime on campus, on all campuses. Unfortunately, every once in a while we have assaults like the ones reported in July.

Is it best to cooperate with your mugger?
These items aren’t worth your safety, so why risk getting injured or worse? If you’re physically attacked all bets are off, and you have to fight back and defend yourself. We do offer RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes, and if a group wants to have a RAD class, they can contact us directly. We’ll do a class anywhere, anytime.

Does registering valuables help?
We do free laptop and bike registration. This doesn’t prevent theft, but we can put a report in a national crime database, and if the items are located anywhere and the numbers are run, at least there’s a chance of getting them back.

How often does that happen?
It’s not real common. So the best plan is prevention.

Any advice to students coming from a non-city environment?
BU is extremely safe, but don’t let your guard down. This is a large city and it certainly changes when it gets dark. It’s best if you can walk with someone else. If you can’t, we do have an escort security service on campus. Stay off your cell phone. If you need to make a call, be conscious of what’s around you.

BUPD urges students, faculty, and staff to report suspicious people and activity on or near campus by calling 617-353-2121 or text messaging tip411 (847411), keyword: BU. The BUPD phone number is located on the back of every Terrier ID Card.

The Escort Security Service can be reached at 617-353-4877.

To learn more about RAD, click here.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu. Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

This interview originally ran July 28, 2010.

10 Comments

10 Comments on Two Students Robbed of Cell Phones

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 8:50 am

    Why Race?

    Hey BU Today,
    Could you please stop telling us the race of an assailant when you report, and use that as the only description (besides gender) that you give them?

    It wasn’t relevant to this story at all, and I’m not sure what the point is– you certainly aren’t aiming to help students recognize these particular assailants if they show up again– there are no height, weight, age or facial descriptions (not that these would be really helpful anyway)– so what is your point in telling us the men were black?

    Don’t enough people already cross the street when they see a black man walking behind them? Do we really need more reinforcement of this racist generalization that makes a white woman think every black man walking behind her is a potential assailant?

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 9:14 am

    Get it together!

    Every time there is a robbery like this, the same advice is given. When are people going to learn?!!?

    Also, what I found a little interesting was that in the emergency alert it was stated that it was an “armed robbery” but that no weapons were seen. Hmm…

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 12:32 pm

    back home everyone carries a gun; problem solved.
    Think about that before you vote this November.

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 12:40 pm

    re: Why Race?

    I agree that racial profiling is unnecessary, though I would like to point out that the article does in fact include height, weight, age, hair, and clothing descriptions of the individuals.

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 1:00 pm

    Re: Why Race?

    Race is an important tool that can be used to identify a suspect. It is not being used here in an effort to be racist, but rather to provide a description of the suspects And BU Today does mention all those other things you requested:

    “Police describe the suspects as two black males, 20 to 25 years old. One suspect is described as 6’0″, 220 to 230 pounds, with very short hair, wearing a very large black zip-up jacket and dark jeans. The other is believed to be 5’8″, 180 to 190 pounds, wearing a large beige zip-up jacket with “G-Unit” written across the front.”

    That covers height, age, weight, and articles of clothing they were wearing at the time of the crime. These are pieces of information that could help the police or even other students recognize the suspects in the future. It is hardly a generalization.

    The point of mentioning race in the article is simply to describe the suspect, not make a racist comment. If the criminals were white, or Asian, or Middle Eastern, they would also have a mention of their race in the police report.

  • Protect yourself. on 09.28.2010 at 1:32 pm

    My Advice

    Find a means to protect yourself, whether that means the ability to run away from a situation, or fight back. Don’t give the muggers an incentive to mug you. If villains know BU students are easy picking the muggings won’t stop. If villains know that BU won’t put up with it and will not comply to muggers demands, muggers with realize that the payoff takes too much work, and they will move to another area. Good guys don’t win by appeasing the bad guys, history and an elementary school bully or two has taught us all that. Legally (i.e. to not get sued by SOME scumbag lawyers trying to make some commission) BU have to say “Be a schtick and hand over your first born child if the bad man/woman do so demand” I hope people are smart enough to know BU must say that. Talk to most cops and they’ll let you know as I have: criminals don’t like a fight.

    to “Why Race?”

    Race is always used to identify perps. Cops and victims will and always have used it. This, combined with other descriptions, makes it easier to track if it is serial muggings or just a isolated incident. This way the cops can do a better job of catching the perp, whether black, white, orange, red, yellow, green, or pink with purple polka dots. Don’t let political correctness go too far to undermine all of our safety.

    The journalist can’t be held responsible for reporting the truth, the pure facts that were relayed to him/her, the stereotype enforced itself in this incidence. You’re making more to this story than there is. Race is just an identifier for the police.

    Try to find the real victims here, because it’s not you, it’s the people who were mugged.

  • cdanilof on 09.28.2010 at 2:39 pm

    Earlier version

    Note from BU Today: Why Race?’s comment was submitted when the information we had was still scant. We inserted additional details regarding the suspects as soon as we obtained them. So the story’s first comment was in reaction to an earlier iteration. Apologies for any confusion.

    Thanks,

    CD

  • Seriously? on 09.28.2010 at 4:02 pm

    “This interview originally ran July 28, 2010.”

    Oh, so that’s why the advice is barely applicable to yesterday’s situation, in which students were robbed IN BROAD DAYLIGHT RIGHT OUTSIDE A HIGH-TRAFFIC UNIVERSITY FACILITY. Is it unreasonable to expect an explanation of how BU security failed to prevent this? Or should I just accept that it’s unsafe to use a cell phone anywhere on campus at any time of day?

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2010 at 9:17 pm

    re: Why Race?

    To “Why Race” – I could not agree with you more. Sure, it makes sense for the police to be able to identify the race of the assailants, but that doesn’t mean BU Today needs to be putting suspicions into our heads if we see a black man walk by (not that I believe that was their intent). BU is the perfect place for us to practice greater racial sensitivity, even – and perhaps especially – in our actions that were not meant to cause harm.

  • Anonymous on 09.29.2010 at 12:52 am

    Preventable

    Maybe if the BUPD wasn’t so busy writing tickets to cyclists and patrolling crosswalks, there would actually be some protection – in BROAD DAYLIGHT – against potentially armed and dangerous criminals. Glad to see my 52,000 a year is keeping me safe.

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