Two Students Robbed of Cell Phones
No one hurt in bold daylight assault outside FitRec
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 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.
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.
This interview originally ran July 28, 2010.10 Comments