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BU Police Respond to Assaults, and to Critics

Chief Robbins: what police are doing, what you can do

Thomas Robbins - Boston University police department BUPD chief and executive director of public safety

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins stresses that what a robber wants “is just property. It can be replaced. Do not try to resist.” Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Describing the recent spate of assaults on or near the Charles River Campus as their highest priority, the BU Police are beefing up patrols, working closely with Brookline Police, and stressing some safety tips to the community.

In the latest incident, a research assistant from the BU Medical Campus was stabbed and robbed of an iPad Tuesday evening only a few blocks from the Charles River Campus. He was treated at a local hospital and released. Just under two weeks ago, three BU students were robbed on or near campus in three separate weekend incidents over three hours.

Since last fall, there have been 17 assaults reported to the BU Police, the same number reported for the entire 2011–2012 academic year. Of those, four were domestic incidents, and four other suspects have been arrested, and court summonses have been issued.

In response to the jump in street crime, BU Police have put more cars and more officers on the streets, but the robberies continue, and concern is growing. A BU Today story about the most recent incident quickly drew more than 100 comments from readers, many complaining of the failure of police efforts to stem the violence.

In a letter to the BU community, President Robert A. Brown reported that he met yesterday morning with BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins to discuss the next steps, based on what they are learning from the ongoing investigations. “Clearly,” Brown wrote, “recent experience suggests that we must—working with public officials—reevaluate current procedures and seek new approaches.”

What exactly are the police doing? What can the rest of us do? BU Today put those questions and others to Robbins.

BU Today: What are the BU and Brookline police departments doing to make the streets safer?

Thomas Robbins: We are assigning our regular patrol officers on every shift to provide expanded patrol coverage to the North Brookline area along with Brookline Police. We have also assigned officers to be solely focused on the area. We are working very closely with the Brookline Police, and both departments are stepping up patrols. Last semester, when our detectives worked together, we made arrests in two cases of armed robbery, and we continue to work very well together. The collaboration is excellent.

How long will the added patrols remain on the streets?

For the foreseeable future. We are putting more police in the area of the crimes. We are increasing the visibility of police, with more uniformed officers and more marked police cars. Brookline is also adding patrols, and they will be both uniformed and plainclothes.

What can you say to people who think that you aren’t doing enough?

These assaults are our highest priority, bar none. They command attention at the top of the police department and the top of the University. I’ve been here six years, and this kind of activity is very unusual in the area of North Brookline. Last semester and this semester, we have seen this pop up, and it’s something that we are prepared for. We are gathering statistics and focusing resources in hot spots, both with investigation and protective patrol measures. We are addressing this. We understand how important it is to provide security for this community. People should know that we really care about these incidents.

What about members of the community? What can they do?

They can do a few things. If you are walking someplace, make sure you are in a group, and as much as you can, walk in well-lighted areas. Do not display objects that you know are targets for thieves. Don’t hold your iPhone in your hand and don’t walk with earbuds in. There are two reasons for not wearing your earbuds. One, thieves will see that you have earbuds, and they may decide to take them, and two, you’ll be distracted from your environment. You have to pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

What kinds of things should people pay attention to?

Most students are familiar with the area, and they can tell when someone looks like they don’t belong. If you see anyone suspicious, the best thing to do is call the Brookline Police or the BU Police, and we will immediately send an officer to have a conversation and find out who that person is.

What if someone is the victim of a robbery? What should they do?

If you are a victim, or about to become a victim, remember that most thieves are focused on one thing: getting the items they want and getting out of there. You should remember that what they want is just property. It can be replaced. Do not try to resist. Don’t do anything that would cause them to use force to take something that you could give them.

Is there anything they can do other than hand over their iPhone or other belongings?

Yes. The most helpful thing you can do is to be a good witness. You can try to get a good look at the suspect. Look for earrings or tattoos or other identifying features that can help police find that person. Get the very best description you can.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

88 Comments on BU Police Respond to Assaults, and to Critics

  • Ethan on 01.31.2013 at 5:10 am

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the BUPD takes these crimes seriously but I think they need a lesson in resource allocation. Officers should be focused on patrolling and preventing these crimes rather than trying to catch students drinking underage. Underage drinking is going to happen on every college campus in America (it even happens at BYU). While I understand the need to patrol the GAP area, is it really necessary to arrest students? No. Focus on arresting perpetrators of assault and robbery.

    • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 8:54 am

      I know I feel better living in the GAP with more patrol regardless of what they do. Did you know there was a fatal stabbing over break? These patrols add safety and aren’t just about drinking. Stay safe neighbor.

    • Richie Tenenbuam on 01.31.2013 at 1:58 pm

      I agree with the above. The time wasted on busting up a few college kids can be better spent patrolling the areas and stopping crimes like these. The police often stay for an extended period of time at the house of the party they just broke up, and its this window of opportunity that thieves are taking advantage of.

    • Rufus on 02.01.2013 at 7:35 am

      According to a local news station (see link below) Brookline issues the most traffic tickets out of 40 eastern Massachusetts cities or towns. A driver is three times more likely to get a speeding ticket in Brookline than in Boston. The Brookline Police Department must reprioritize its officers and take them out of speed traps and put them on the streets patrolling trouble spots. It seems clear that the BU community is being targeted by thieves looking for an easy target, and that they know they are less likely to be caught in Brookline.


    • Eric on 05.01.2013 at 8:24 am

      BU Police have done a great job focusing on the target crimes and getting the alerts out to the BU community so they are all informed and can be proactive about their personal safety. All crimes are important to address including student drinking which may make students vunerable and/or victims of other crimes. The BUPD has coordinated well with Brookline and Boston Police and the response has been very timely. The responses to this article are actually very good and most of the issues discussed are addressed but maybe with this discussion can even be improved. Chief Robbins and the BUPD seem to be on the cutting edge of the issues and their response to incidents evolves as they happen for a quick resolution. Permanent changes may make it more difficult for crime to have the opportunity to happen. Students feedback keeping the BUPD informed really makes a difference and enables the BUDP to make optimal responses to ongoing crime. Thank you BUPD and students!

  • Rhoda on 01.31.2013 at 5:47 am

    You might consider the following if they don’t already exist:
    1. A service to escort individuals off-campus. Could be a student-run service that allows individuals who otherwise would walk alone the opportunity for safe, secure travel (escort travels with iPhone using facetime or Skype to maintain contact with base in case there is need for assistance)
    2. Placement of well-lit security stations with alert button throughout nearly Brookline community (at each block?). Push a button and it automatically alerts BU Police of criminal activity.
    3. Creation of BU Police app for smartphones. People walking in the neighborhood who are concerned about an assault should walk with their phones out and can just push the app that would automatically alert police of a crime. The app should have a gps locator so the site of the crime can be immediately known.

    • Student 86 on 01.31.2013 at 8:43 am


      I agree with your ideas that we should to decrease the effort level needed to report an attack (or contact police for whatever reason)… but I disagree with the idea that walking with your phone visible, in hand, is the best way to do it.

      The phone is one of the items these thieves are after. Your best is to be alert to everyone and everything around you as you walk–hands empty, out of pockets and eyes up. You want to be LESS of a target by concealing valuables and appearing more aware of who is around you.

      As to poor lighting in some of the areas, which I realize you didn’t specifically comment on–I don’t see why carrying an appropriately sized flashlight would not be a reasonable idea. It helps light your path and keep cars/bikers alerted to your presence at crosswalks… A 3 cell metal body flashlight in the hands of an attentive walker would also potentially make a poorly armed thief think twice about bothering. I used to walk with one all the time near/after dusk back home.

      • Kate on 01.31.2013 at 10:11 am

        Overhead lighting isn’t just for you to personally see your path, it’s to make the area well lit and unfavorable to criminals who would rather not be seen by victims OR the general public.

    • Anon on 01.31.2013 at 8:50 am

      There is an escort service

      • Graduate Student on 01.31.2013 at 9:55 am

        Although there is an escort service, they don’t go off-campus, which is where these incidents have been occurring. (http://www.bu.edu/escort/areas.html)
        Maybe they should consider extending their coverage area.

      • ____ on 01.31.2013 at 10:38 am

        the escort service does not go off campus

      • ME on 01.31.2013 at 11:45 am

        This looks like a great opportunity for a student entrepreneur to set up a business walking any member of the community to locations off of the BU campus.

    • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 8:52 am

      While your comments are valid to a point, are you even part of the BU community? There is an escort service, and there are blue light boxes. The last comment you had about apps is sadly useless. The best advice is to call a police number that can track you, regardless of the type of phone or Internet connection.

    • RTFM on 01.31.2013 at 9:06 am

      Maybe you should investigate some things yourself before criticizing:
      1. http://www.bu.edu/escort/
      2. Contact Brookline PD, then.
      3. Then find a developer who will program the app, who is willing to do it for free (or lobby to have funds allocated for this project), and then figure out how to make sure people don’t abuse this app, or there aren’t too many false alarms by people who are “trigger happy”.

      • Jay on 01.31.2013 at 9:33 am


        It doesn’t seem to me that Rhonda was being critical. Rather, she made some thoughtful comments which she believes would be useful.

        Perhaps the BU escort system could use more publicity?

        Many schools utilize a similar call box scheme. Why not BU? What if you do not have a phone with you at the time. Or, what if the phone is lost during an assault? Use the public safety call box…

        Perhaps BU could use some of their endowment fund towards a public safety app as she described?

        Great thoughts, Rhonda.

        • ME on 01.31.2013 at 11:50 am

          OMG. There are blue light phones all over both of the BU Campuses. The University cannot just go installing these off of University property, and have them ring down to the BUPD. These should be a BROOKLINE priority, ringing to THEIR police dispatcher. Brookline PD is in radio contact with BUPD.

    • Grad Student on 01.31.2013 at 9:12 am

      yeah… pay MORE attention to your phone instead of your surroundings.

    • tomandsarah on 01.31.2013 at 9:17 am

      the first two already exist and the third is a very neat idea

    • AP on 01.31.2013 at 10:17 am

      Instead of an app, young people need to stop being afraid to dial 911! If you call with a valid complaint- even if it turns out to not be something they can do anything about- they won’t be mad or punish you. Police officers and 911 operators get tons of stupid calls every day, so they can be cranky, but if you have a legitimate reason to call, you can’t get in trouble.

    • MC on 01.31.2013 at 10:55 am

      No idea if Rhoda is part of the BU community but the first two services she is suggesting don’t actually exist.

      The BU escort service only works on campus, and Rhoda clearly said that there should be one for off campus. As a student living off campus, I fully agree! The BU escort service is great but if a student thinks they won’t actually take them /home/ it loses some of its value. Also, there are light boxes on campus, but again, for students who have their own apartments, once you leave the Comm ave/South campus area, there aren’t any. (Maybe this is where collaboration with the BPD is needed—the area of Brookline where the latest robbery occurred is pretty far removed from BU.)

      Have to agree with commenters about the phone, though. Carrying it in your hand, especially at night, it seems to me is an invitation.

    • Student on 01.31.2013 at 2:34 pm

      The BU escort system needs a facelift. Two weekends ago after the hockey game, a friend from West was visiting me in Warren. After getting BU notifications of three armed robberies and it being 2:00 in the morning, we called the BU student escort system: no answer. 9 calls later: no answer. We went to the security desk at the front of Warren asking them what they proposed that we do. Their answer: a shrug of the shoulders and “The number you have is the same number we do, just keep calling I guess”. By the time it was 4 in the morning, there was still no answer. My friend slept on our floor. How reliable.

  • Mimi on 01.31.2013 at 5:56 am

    I appreciate Chief Robbins’s interview, but I wonder what exactly he means by this statement: “Most students are familiar with the area, and they can tell when someone looks like they don’t belong.”

    • anon on 01.31.2013 at 10:54 am

      I think he’s referring to the fact that some people give off creepy vibes. Walking aimlessly, looking around, hands in their pockets, maybe with hoods pulled over their faces, just creepy. If you see someone who creeps you out, for whatever reason, cross the street. Turn off your ipod. Listen and watch your surroundings. I don’t think he was implying any sort of racial card, which you appear to be assuming.

    • ME on 01.31.2013 at 11:53 am

      What looks out of place is often the age and demeanor of a person. Students really do recognize who isn’t a student and who isn’t acting like one—say, standing with a bag in the dark along Back Street. Of course that’s not against the law, but students DO recognize behavior that is not usual.

  • Michelle on 01.31.2013 at 6:02 am

    Last time when you stepped up patrols and worked with Brookline, the two arrests were made because the kid’s families brought them in. Not sure I’m going to give you credit for that one BUPD.
    Also, your highest priority seems to be telling us to watch ourselves instead of stopping the robberies. I assume you stepped up patrols after the first robbery and there have been two since then. That’s a failure in policing. Their all in the same general area too so what’s the excuse?

    • Dan on 01.31.2013 at 2:45 pm

      Police rarely arrive on scene while a crime is in progress. The large majority of their work is arriving after a crime has happened and completing an investigation. How do you expect the police to predict when a crime is going to happen and be there to stop it? That’s ridiculous. If I took a kitchen knife out of my drawer right now and went outside and robbed someone, would you blame the police for not stopping me? People expect way too much of the police. They are not magicians. If perfect policing was able to stop crime completely then there would be no crime in this world.

  • waveydavey11 on 01.31.2013 at 6:05 am

    Ummm Chief Robbins, did ya see the picture of the kid that’s wanted for the other robbery? He looks like Ben Affleck. Does he “not belong”? And the projects are right there so what kind of profiling exactly do you want us to do?

  • Donna Gregs on 01.31.2013 at 8:16 am

    I am horrified by these attacks due to my BU student living on West Campus and her close proximity to these events. Can more blue light alarms be installed in the off-campus areas of BU? A big focus of the BU tour was the security on campus thanks to the blue light emergency poles scattered about campus. Why not put some in these off-campus areas? This should be in someone’s financial plans going forward! And what about unmarked cars and undercover police? Why don’t they walk around with earbuds and iPads in their hands and see if they can be confronted with one of these would-be attackers? These assaults have GOT to stop!

    • Helicoptor on 01.31.2013 at 9:03 am

      Why don’t you contact Brookline PD about the blue emergency poles? BU PD doesn’t can’t just install things like that in an area that isn’t their jurisdiction.

    • AP on 01.31.2013 at 10:20 am

      Blue light alarms don’t do anything:

      Mugger: Give me your iPad or I’ll shoot!
      Student: (hits blue alarm button) Wait here 5 minutes so the police can arrest you!
      Mugger: (shoves student, takes iPad, runs away in 15 seconds.)

      • ME on 01.31.2013 at 11:57 am

        What do you actually think the chances are that an armed officer will be standing or driving right there when something happens? The Blue light phones do not require dialing, just a push of a button. I would gladly run to the next one to call and know (from personal experience) that the response is very fast.

  • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 8:45 am

    “Most students are familiar with the area, and they can tell when someone looks like they don’t belong.”
    Chief Robbins, can you define how someone looks like they don’t belong in a certain area? Because as far as I know, everyone has freedom to be anywhere at any time. Looking like they don’t belong starts down a path of who should and should not be in our community. At an urban university, we should take pride that our students are among the community… and that community members can be a part of ours.

    • Student on 01.31.2013 at 9:44 am

      I think you need to be less worried about Robbins’ comments about who belongs and more focused on the fact that BUPD FINALLY has taken criticisms into consideration. Students who live in that area walk those streets Every day. They CAN tell when someone doesn’t belong because that is their neighborhood.

      I have been harsh on BUPD in past incidents, but if they are true to what they say here I’m willing to give them another chance. It’s hard as a student of this Expensive University to receive an email about how patrols are stepping up to catch underage drinkers in Allston and 3 hours later receive an email saying someone has been robbed at gunpoint in Brookline (one block from Aggannis Arena). That’s where the criticism comes from. Stop making underage drinking your headlines, if you want to stop that go ahead, but at least pretend that student safety is at the top of your priority list.

      • Also anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 10:10 am

        Maybe in a small community it is possible to tell who is in your neighborhood and who is not, but in an urban setting this is not the case. BU is a part of the city that surrounds it and suggesting that students identify people who do not belong is ridiculous. This statement suggests that students profile those in their community. Which, for BUPD, had in the past meant people of color. The undertones of that statement are concerning.

      • Well, on 01.31.2013 at 10:27 am

        Actually, we should be very worried about his comments. There are 16k undergrads, about 12k grad/doctoral students and auditors, hundreds of professors, facilities people, and then the non-bu residents of Brookline and Allston. So short of my friends, teammates, and a handful of classmates, I cannot say who does and does not “belong”. Not without profiling.

      • ANON on 01.31.2013 at 10:40 am

        I live in this neighborhood, therefore I would also like to know what Robbins means by identifying those who look like they don’t belong. This type of profiling only supports and reinforces a history of discrimination.

        • Student on 01.31.2013 at 1:06 pm

          Agreed. I’d like to think he means we should watch out for people with ski masks on their faces who are peeking out from behind a tree for a prolonged period of time…but clearly that wasn’t what he meant.

    • Also anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 10:35 am

      Perhaps in a small rural community it would be possible to identify who “belongs” in a community and who doesn’t but in a city as large as Boston, this is impossible. Yes you may recognize some people and not others but that does not mean they don’t belong. The implication of that statement is that “certain types” of people don’t belong in certain communities. Namely people of color. The statement that students should be on the lookout for people who do not belong suggests racial profiling. Which has been blatantly done by the BUPD in the past and is unacceptable.

  • Philip on 01.31.2013 at 8:49 am

    Why don’t you step up actual patrols, you know outside your squad cars where actual things happen? Yes I know the weather is stinker these days but I think students would more benefit from good old fashion beat patrols rather than a sprinkling of squad cars at each corner. You guys don’t even keep your windows down, how are you suppose hear something happening? And you only look in one direction. It’s not about robberies anymore, if they can get away with an extra stabbing, it’s concerning that they can do something a lot worse and I don’t know how any of us can feel safe as these inch come closer to campus.

  • Kara on 01.31.2013 at 8:50 am

    I walk to and from work everyday down St. Paul Street. After the first 3 incidents in Brookline, I noticed at least 3 patrol cars everyday during my 10 minute walk. (Believe me, I was counting). However, since those guys turned themselves in, I very rarely see even 1 patrol car. I look forward to seeing more and, because I now feel unsafe in my normally quiet Brookline neighborhood, I will continue to count patrol cars.

  • Lucy on 01.31.2013 at 8:56 am

    My question is what are the Brookline police doing to help? It’s unfortunate and frightening when university police are taking more measures than the city police. Perhaps lights in the neighboring parks would be a good idea or dare I say Brookline focus more on resident safety than parking tickets.

    • anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 11:13 am

      Cheers to this! These incidents are happening off campus, in Brookline, and yet BUPD is taking all the hits. I walk through these neighborhoods on a daily basis, and while I see BUPD cruisers regularly, I rarely see Brookline PD.

    • ME on 01.31.2013 at 12:04 pm

      The BUPD has always gone further and taken more steps to protect its community than local police. However, we cannot demand — or expect — that they take over the responsibilities of those other agencies just because some of us live, visit, or have things to do there.

  • Annie on 01.31.2013 at 9:06 am

    Put the phones & tablets away and pay attention to your surroundings when walking in ANY city….the oldest rule in the book.

    • Kate on 01.31.2013 at 10:23 am

      In at least one of the BU cases, the victim was just walking home with their bag, no electronics (or anything else for that matter) were out of their bag. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter what precautions you take, you can still be a target.

  • Pete on 01.31.2013 at 9:25 am

    Lol… Again the same response: increase patrols. It din’t work before and I don’t see how that works again. BUPD clearly failed and arn’t doing anything to change it. Even President Brown acknowledges something must change. If BUPD we’re any other company you Mr. Robbins would’ve been fired a long time ago.

    And to those commenting on using the escort service, the service only escorts students from an on campus location to another. Read it before shooting your mouths off.

    • WorkSmarter on 01.31.2013 at 9:34 am

      It sounds like you are pretty smart. What solutions do you propose? You must have some groundbreaking ideas.

      • Student on 01.31.2013 at 9:51 am

        They should have stepped patrols up a long time ago. During the summer robberies they claimed to have many plainclothes officers patrolling the area, but as someone who lives in the danger zone I can tell you there were no adults to be found on St. Paul or Pleasant St. The other day after the robbery there were two cop cars in the area and they were double parked on Egmont (blocking the whole street) so both officers could have a good laugh with each other for a solid 20 minutes. After that, nothing.

      • Pete on 01.31.2013 at 9:53 am

        First: Do you work for the BUPD? Because you sound awfully defensive. Second: I never claimed to have any “smart” ideas. Neither am I claiming to not have any. That wasn’t my point. My point is the BUPD is paid to do this and it should be them coming up with the ideas and nailing crime. If they can’t do that then they need to employ people who can. This whole topic has nothing to do with me so I don’t get your sad personal attack attempt.

        • Violet on 01.31.2013 at 11:22 am

          Worksmarter’s just saying (albeit not well) that YOUR sad personal attack on BUPD isn’t going to help the situation anymore than him getting defensive is. If you have ideas, share them, maybe they’ll be useful.

  • waveydavey11 on 01.31.2013 at 9:46 am

    I drove past the crime scene yesterday on my way home from class right around 5 PM when other robberies have taken place and saw several students in the area walking alone, smartphone in hand and up in front of their faces, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. I definitely agree that some of the onus has to be on the students walking in these areas to get a clue and not place a bullseye squarely on their backs.

    • E. Gore on 01.31.2013 at 10:19 am

      they were cops

    • Kate on 01.31.2013 at 10:25 am

      While a smartphone may make people more likely targets, sometimes you can get mugged just for carrying a purse or backpack. I wish I could go about my day without a need for a bag, but I do. Victim blaming isn’t the answer here.

    • Nate on 01.31.2013 at 10:34 am

      Couldn’t agree more. How much is a smartphone worth? Would anyone think to walk around with an equivalent amount of cash visible? If I walked around holding a couple of $100 bills in my hand and someone robbed me, would people be calling it a failure of policing, or would you all say it was up to me to be more careful? Ultimately the police can’t be everywhere and see everything (would we really want them to?) and we all have some responsibility to look out for ourselves rather than count on the police to protect us at all times.

      • Lily on 01.31.2013 at 11:35 am

        Can I give this kid a standing ovation? I second him. and waveydavey too. Thank you bringing commonsense into the conversation.

  • Zach on 01.31.2013 at 9:55 am

    I like the app idea. I’m thinking it could have dual function: send out a distress signal to BUPD with your GPS coordinates and also start tracking the phone in the event someone steals it. Faster and easier than calling/texting BUPD.

  • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 10:09 am

    Chief Robbins, can you please be more specific in describing those who “look like they don’t belong?” I am having a hard time figuring out what you mean by that, and do not want to assume that you mean we should be racial profiling and relying on stereotypes.

  • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 10:20 am

    I appreciate that BUPD is taking measures to make everyone feel safer. I know this isn’t a suggestion box, but I think what could really help is if the BU shuttle had a few extra stops past the Agganis/Raising Canes stop in West. Maybe volunteer to drop off students a little closer to their homes in Allston? Even going as far as Harvard Ave might mean a lot less students walking home at night in these target areas.

  • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 10:21 am

    Violence has been a part of many communities throughout boston for decades. Children grow up in communities where being unsafe is a feeling that is familiar to them rather than something they have never experienced before. Efforts need to be taken throughout the city to address this problem not just when it creeps into a predominantly White, affluent community.

    • Alum on 01.31.2013 at 11:34 am

      Gee, why didn’t anyone else ever think of this. Get rid of poverty! What a groundbreaking idea!

    • S on 01.31.2013 at 1:00 pm

      I completely agree, but that’s up to BPD and not BUPD. Good social commentary, but not directly relevant to this situation.

  • m on 01.31.2013 at 10:40 am

    I do not doubt that BUPD is sympathetic and truly cares about the safety of students, but I doubt that they are trying their hardest sometimes. I cannot speak for too much, but I can say that everyday I walk down Cummington St, I see two cop cars idling with their drivers playing Temple Run or something. It seems like there is a problem with resource allocation…

    • ME on 01.31.2013 at 12:08 pm

      Maybe the issue is training and supervision. Where were their supervisors, out on the road or sitting in the station?

  • Tyler on 01.31.2013 at 11:05 am

    Instead of telling us to succumb to the criminals and not go to certain places at certain times and to not show anything valuable when we go outside, perhaps concealed carry should be legalized on campus so that we can defend ourselves instead of relying on a police force that can’t.

    this is why criminals target university students. they know our administration as well as the government bans us from defending ourselves, so we are easy targets.

    • Student on 01.31.2013 at 1:02 pm

      Absolutely. So when I get shot by someone who wants my phone, I can reach into my backpack, take out my gun, and shoot back as I’m lying in a pool of blood on the ground.

      • Dan on 01.31.2013 at 4:19 pm

        First of all, just the fact that students and staff MIGHT have guns can act as a deterrent to criminals who are looking for easy targets. You don’t often see armed robberies occurring at gun stores right? (and when they do, the robber usually ends up being shot).

        Second, you don’t keep your gun in your backpack. You keep it on your hip. I personally keep mine around the 4 o’clock position so if someone ever held a gun to my face and asked for my wallet or phone, it would seem like I was complying but I obviously wouldn’t be.

        Third, that’s why you shoot first. If it’s him or me, I’m not going to be the one taking the bullet.

        – I know the anti-gun people are probably going to say I’m crazy and guns are dangerous and all of that now. I’m not saying just go around shooting people who make you feel uncomfortable. I’m saying if two masked men are trying to rob me and one of them has a gun and I think they might harm me, I’m going to defend myself.

        • Richie Tenenbuam on 01.31.2013 at 7:43 pm

          I would rather get robbed than try and defend myself by pulling a gun. If anything that only increases the chances of there being violence. If a thief sees you pull a gun, you think he’s going to think twice about shooting you?

          But if you absolutely NEED to defend yourself. Why not a taser? Same desired effect, but not lethal.

          • Dan on 02.01.2013 at 12:32 pm

            Like I said, I would only pull my gun IF I thought the person was going to harm me. I also carry pepper spray often so if someone pulled a knife on me, I would try that first. As for tasers, they are completely banned in MA even if you have a license to carry a handgun so you will have to ask the government about that one. Also, I would not trust a taser at all. I have seen many videos of people who are drunk or high and tasers have no effect on them. If someone also has a thick coat on then the barbs might not go into them and they will not be affected. You also get one shot with a taser and then you have to switch the cartridge. If you miss, you are screwed. If someone draws a gun on a police officer, he is going to draw his gun. Tasers are usually reserved for unarmed people who don’t cooperate or sometimes people with knives.
            But, I do like your thinking and appreciate that you are coming up with reasonable ideas unlike many other commenters.

          • JimJim on 02.06.2013 at 2:27 pm

            I am looking forward to the day when you have your own children.

            Then you will understand what it means to have something precious worth defending for by pulling a gun.

    • Dan on 01.31.2013 at 2:59 pm

      I agree 100%. I posted on the article yesterday about this. Some state schools out west are actually starting to do this but I feel like it will be a long time before it is allowed here (if ever) unfortunately.
      Check out http://concealedcampus.org/

  • Anonymous on 01.31.2013 at 11:08 am



    • Dan on 01.31.2013 at 3:01 pm

      ^ YES, exactly! Shouldn’t the police be predicting when and where these robberies are going to occur so they can stop them!?

  • TS on 01.31.2013 at 11:24 am

    The most important reason why robberies take place in the Brookline area: there aren’t enough streetlights.

  • RLJM on 01.31.2013 at 11:57 am

    Yet another crime in this neighborhood. I find it rather difficult to comprehend why this general area – more or less along both sides of St. Paul St. down to Comm. Ave. – can’t be patrolled by the Brookline Police Department with the same amount of hyper-vigilantism that the police devote to giving out parking tickets during the day.

  • concerned community member and mom on 01.31.2013 at 12:00 pm

    This is so troubling. There must be a reason why the crime spike is affecting only the BU campus and notably, not Northeastern, MIT,etc, all of which are in highly urban areas. Not to knock Brookline PD or BU pd, of course, but is it possible that the criminals know that somehow the patrolling on the BU campus, a lot of which is in Brookline, is lax, as compared with other areas of the city? Clearly students are easy target but why the concentration? Maybe thinking about this will give law enforcement some idea of how to more effectively protect the community. Is the Boston PD involved at all? Is there an expertise that is somehow lacking?

  • Karen on 01.31.2013 at 12:13 pm

    Although the suggestion has been made frequently, has the city even considered installing better lighting in the crime areas? One quick walk around these neighborhoods in the evening will demonstrate the absolute need for better street lighting. All research shows that adequate lighting is one of the biggest crime deterrents that can be implemented.

    • Tom on 01.31.2013 at 12:41 pm

      I agree Karen. I doubt there’s a fix-all solution to the problem, but better lighting couldn’t hurt.

    • chris on 01.31.2013 at 12:49 pm

      Logic… logic everywhere in this comment.


  • Jeff Lambe on 01.31.2013 at 12:58 pm

    I think its definately time to band the university stupid policy bannning students from carrying mace even if they legally get a permit from the city. It does’t matter how much more patrols are being stepped up… how many times since last year have they said patrols were being stepped up? while i’m sure they’re doing all they can, it is clearly not preventing the problem from continuing…

    The University needs to stop treating its students like children and let them take control of their own personal safety if they want to.

    Maybe if they hired more police, gave them more money for OT, or made another station instead of building frivolous new buildings and buying entire streets from the city of Boston this kind of thing wouldn’t happen so often

  • Student on 01.31.2013 at 2:40 pm

    Please put some of the heat on Brookline PD. We’re seeing response from BUPD because of us all putting our foot down, let’s do the same to Brookline.

  • Bu Student on 01.31.2013 at 4:08 pm

    From what I could tell as a person living in the GAP (and based off of the BU today article regarding this issue) it did not seem like police presence was heightened in this area until students returned 2 weeks later, and specifically on the weekend. Weekend nights are the only time that I feel completely safe walking near my house as there are constantly students walking around searching for parties. If the purpose of increasing police presence was specifically to stop similar crimes to the stabbing that occurred over break, the tactics on part of the local police forces have been embarrassingly misdirected. This stabbing occurred between people who were older than Boston University undergraduate students, and therefore not drinking underage. It almost seems like BU and the area’s police forces used the untimely death of a person who was not a BU student as a long awaited excuse to crack down on partying in Allston. The police’s efforts did successfully get students in trouble for safely drinking underage, as it had been explicitly predetermined that arrests would be made while breaking up parties in situations that would not normally require more than a warning. This situation would hopefully be embarrassing enough to local police forces, as they were probably prioritizing the hinderance of inevitable practices of college students over the safety of the same students, but to add to this in a nearly comical fashion, while Boston police were holding groups of nonaggressive 20 year old white males for underage drinking on this first Friday night of the police’s heightened efforts against “crime” in Allston, three robberies occurred on Boston University campus. I find it appalling that I’m a student at a school that puts so much more emphasis on the publicly perceived “correctness” of a situation (in which they arrest harmless underage drinkers) than its interest of helping the greatest number of people.. What will it take for Boston University to realize that college students will inevitably drink and that they should focus their attention on matters that should require more attention? Would a police officer have to shoot a student for holding a red solo cup?

  • James on 01.31.2013 at 5:52 pm

    Not to be a drip, but I’d wager that underage drinking puts way more students in the hospital and in unsafe situations than armed robberies. We, as humans, have a tendency to fear the sensational before the probable (e.g. people fear shark attacks and not wayward golf balls, even thought the latter is more likely to kill you). Just wanted to respond to those bemoaning the fact that the cops are busting their parties instead of escorting them home on Wednesday nights.

  • elizabeth reed on 02.01.2013 at 12:20 am

    I get that it’s unnerving to have what seems like a “crime wave” in an area close to home or school or work (I live a few blocks away from the Browne/Pleasant St. area). But a lot of these comments seem pretty over the top. For one thing, 17 reported assaults (13, apparently, when you take out those that occurred in cases where the victim knew the perpetrator) in 5 months is not exactly indicative of rampant crime. That’s a little over 3 per month, if we include the non-stranger cases, which means that around 0.00009% of BU students have reported an assault each month (0.0005% so far this academic year). And anyway, this is the greater Boston area, not a sleepy little town where muggings are shocking. If you don’t want to be at some risk of getting mugged, don’t choose an urban university. What do you want the police to do? Patrol every corner of every street? As for the complaints that BUPD is too focused on underage drinking and parties, well, here are some stats to point out why your complaints make no sense (from the NIAAA): 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries; more than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking; more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape; 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

    You really think BUPD has their priorities backwards?

  • mrs m on 02.01.2013 at 12:05 pm

    Agree with James… distracted walking makes you a huge target for robberies, as well! POlice are charged with upholding the LAW and some of you just can’t understand that you are breaking the law with underage drinking just as the robber is breaking the law.

    Quit pouting and follow the law.

  • Daryl Lucas on 02.01.2013 at 8:46 pm

    “You have to pay attention to your surroundings at all times.” This is one of the principal reasons I hate cities. You can’t really enjoy your life in a city–you have to be constantly on guard against getting attacked or assaulted or robbed. You can’t listen to music or stroll along while leisurely daydreaming. You can’t be distracted or casual. You can’t just live your life. Instead, you must be afraid of getting attacked, and you must assume it’ll happen if you don’t watch out.

    What a crappy way to live.

    • JimJim on 02.06.2013 at 2:25 pm

      Your false sense of security, immaturity, and lack of personal responsibility is downright laughable.

  • Greg on 02.01.2013 at 10:08 pm

    Brookline police are to busy writing traffic tickets

  • Carl on 02.02.2013 at 9:34 pm

    IT’S FOR OUR SINS. If the people of Boston University read the Good Book of the Lord and repented of their transgressions, no muggings would ever occur. I am shocked to see that the BUPD is not praying for our souls. Christ will protect those who have Faith in His Salvation. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4

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