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Spate of Robberies on and around Campus

Tips from BUPD on how to reduce risk


Walking in groups in well-lit areas at night diminishes the chances of being a crime victim. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Four unarmed robberies on or near campus since March 8 have the Boston University Police Department reminding students to observe common-sense precautions.

Three of the robberies involved students accosted by two thieves demanding cell phones, wallets, or money, according to an e-bulletin sent to the University community last week by BUPD Chief Thomas Robbins. The fourth involved a single student robbed by a single thief.

BU Today spoke recently with the chief, who says no one was injured in the robberies, which happened between 6 and 11 p.m.

The three similar robberies took place near Kenmore Square, Robbins says, near 575 Commonwealth Ave., on Bay State Road close to the Raleigh Street intersection, and on Blandford Street. The fourth robbery happened near 100 Ashford Street. “We do not have any suspects at this time,” he says, as none of the victims could give a good description of their assailants. BUPD detectives are investigating with colleagues from area police departments, including Boston and Brookline.

“I think it’s very important for you to take a moment to remember that although your chances of being the victim of a crime are small, your personal commitment to your own safety is crucial,” Robbins wrote in the e-bulletin.

Tips from BUPD:
“Always be aware of your surroundings, whether on or off campus; walk with friends and with others in the area, especially at night; if you don’t have anyone to walk with at night, use the escort security service; safeguard your valuables by keeping them out of sight; and report suspicious persons and activity immediately to the Boston University Police Department by calling 617-353-2121 or texting anonymously at 847411 Keyword: BU.”

The bulletin notes that the BUPD’s number is on the back of every Terrier ID Card.

If these precautions fail and you’re approached by a robber, “Cooperate whenever possible so as to avoid escalation to physical violence,” Robbins urges.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.


8 Comments on Spate of Robberies on and around Campus

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 7:25 am


    How come every time these reports come out they always lack one key element–details!?! Is it political nervousness in fear of offending someone? If you want to help protect us, then a physical description might help just a bit. It’s frustrating when the Chief and/or BUPD only give the vaguest generalizations regarding attentiveness. If it’s a repeated pattern and centralized around the same areas, then freaking put it out there what the heck they look like! It gives people an extra edge in taking precautions. I just find it odd that they leave out these important details (e.g. Age, height, color, clothing, scars, repeated lines: “you have the time?” et cetera). Yes, it’s okay to state if particular assailants are Caucasian, Asian, African American, etc. Most students–here at least–are not going to generalize entire groups based on a few thugs. Stop being so political and actually release some real data.

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 10:14 am


    My friend was one of the people who got robbed in front of Hojo’s. He gave me a pretty accurate description of the two guys, but I guess for the BUPD they take the issue of race discrimination more seriously than a student’s awareness of the people surrounding him/her.

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 10:48 am

    …as none of the victims could give a good description of their assailants…. there is your answer right there

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 11:45 am

    I second that: Give people the facts

    I have tro agree: Providing a description of a suspect is no different than giving a description of a vehicle. Would the BUPD or the University hesitate to provide the make, model, approximate age, and color of a car involved in a crime? The detailed description of a suspect — race, sex, approximate height and weight, and probable age — are crucial. Boston TV stations are broadcasting a description of a man (including his race – black) given by a victim who was sexually assaulted over the weekend on the Esplanade near Mass Avenue, who may be a suspect in a series of sexual assaults over a period of years.

    Why shouldn’t BU be responsible to our community by giving a complete description? And how about a map showing where the robberies occurred along with the times?

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 1:14 pm

    Unarmed? As in the 1/2 guy(s) just come up to a person and says “Give me your wallet?” I hope it meant like unseen weapons, if it two people come up, making me outnumbered, there better be some kind of weapon shown or implied because I think I rather take the stupid approach and fight.

    I can’t encourage that idea of everyone, but I been hearing too many recent robberies where just some guy just come up demanding money. If all of them are unarmed, it sounds like they are just taking advantage that we been taught that it is not worth the danger and just give it up. If that how they are playing, I think I just act like crazy mother—— and savagely let my rage take over.

    Then again, I won’t know for sure unless it actually happens. I guess it would depends how much my brain kicks in. But all this news that there no note of any weapon makes me wonder if they are just taking advantage that we have become too passive. If that is correct, a few no’s and possible a fight would make them hesitate if they think it is that easy.

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 4:03 pm

    Why not give students the opportunity to defend themselves? Texas and Arizona (and other states) are currently considering legislation that would allow concealed carry on campus for people holding CC permits. I know this would *never* get popular support in a state like Massachusetts, but it would be worthwhile to have the conversation and to see what are the effects on crime at Texan and Arizonan schools. When seconds count police are minutes away.

  • Anonymous on 04.12.2011 at 9:54 am

    @why not give...

    I do not agree with your idea whatsoever. I think it’s an interesting discussion, but that’s as far as I would take it. The last thing we need is a bunch of spoiled BU kids running around with concealed weapons, intoxicated, and shooting people at the slightest whim of “self-defense.” Instead I would give you a whistle. There are security personnel available to us (i.e. especially women walking alone) that can ensure their safety from point A to point B. Furthermore, our random “robberies,” while I agree always seem to lack important details on what the criminals look like, are hardly enough cause to justify such actions. Based on the information, for all we know these are just people asking for your possessions–AGAIN another problem with no details because we don’t really know. I would say if this were the 1930’s, 1940’s, and even the 1950’s, then allowing University level students to possess an authorized weapon might not be a bad idea. However, when you’re talking about our “twitter generation” then get serious–way too immature. That would be a disaster. Most of the students would never dare even go fight for our country, let alone trust them with firearms that will inevitably get used after a frat-party. Let’s be a little more honest with ourselves about how coddled we are compared to past generations–these are not the men and women of old. Interesting topic, but bad idea in practice.

  • Anonymous on 04.13.2011 at 5:51 pm

    @@Why not give

    I doubt many frat boys would end up being the ones with CC permits. The process in Massachusetts is notoriously difficult, requiring lengthy classroom instruction, letters of recommendation, fees, and even then issuance is left to the discretion of the local police chief. In the end, I think very few people would actually take advantage of it, but that might be enough to plant worry in the mind of any would-be mugger. Again though, Massachusetts would probably be the last state to consider expanding gun rights. I’m just going to keep an eye on those other states and see what happens.

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