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Expanded Reporting Ups Crime Numbers on Medical Campus

Annual BU security report: Charles River Campus figures largely unchanged


The number of crimes on the Charles River Campus (CRC) was largely unchanged from 2014 to 2015, according to the University’s annual Security and Fire Safety Report required by the federal Clery Act. On the Medical Campus, where the required reporting area was expanded for 2015, the number of crimes shown on the report increased.

Previously, the federal Department of Education (DOE), which enforces the act, required the University to report crimes committed in or near buildings owned or controlled by Boston University. However, the DOE recently issued guidance requiring universities to also report on crimes that occur in university-affiliated hospitals. So BU is now including crimes committed in or near 16 buildings owned or controlled by Boston Medical Center, the teaching hospital of the School of Medicine.

Consequently, drug law violations reported for the Medical Campus increased from 10 to 71, aggravated assaults went from 3 to 35, and weapons law violations rose from 2 to 9. Other increases in reported Medical Campus crimes include: forcible fondlings, up from one in 2014 to 4 last year; rapes, up from zero to 2; robberies, up from 6 to 18; burglaries, up from one to 6; and dating violence incidents, up from zero to 4.

Meanwhile, the CRC saw arrests for 2 drug law violations last year, down from 3 in 2014, while aggravated assaults increased from 11 to 14. The number of forcible fondlings last year was eight, up from seven the year before, and nine rapes occurred in 2015, up from five in 2014. There were 9 robberies, up from 7; 20 burglaries, up from 18; and 9 acts of dating violence, up from 8.

Scott Paré, acting chief of the BU Police Department, says the greater number of crimes reported for the Medical Campus “doesn’t mean there’s been a significant uptick in crime,” but rather reflects the broader geography that the government now requires the University to include in the Clery report.

Jake Sullivan, BU’s assistant vice president for government and community affairs, says the University is concerned with crime in the area surrounding the Medical Campus. “We take very seriously the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and employees on the Medical Campus and in the neighborhood,” he says. “This concern is reflected in our engagement with all partners seeking to improve conditions in the area, and we are active in supporting partnerships to reduce these incidences.”

Map of Boston University BioSquare from the Boston University Master Plan

Click to enlarge. Because of federal guidance, the buildings in dark blue, above, have been added to the University’s crime-reporting area on the Medical Campus.

Social problems near the Medical Campus contribute to the area’s crime, he says. Those include drug dealers who operate near methadone clinics and a spike in the homeless population from a new city shelter close to the Medical Campus.

“There are a lot of unmet social needs—and services—in the area,” Sullivan says. “We are working with a multiagency city team to figure out the best resources that BU can offer to assist with that. It’s a problem that takes a very sustained effort in all of these different areas, and the city is aggressively developing and implementing strategies, and meeting almost weekly to execute them.” He says the University is also working with neighborhood, business, and homeless groups on the problems.

“Boston’s on top of it,” says Paré, referring to the city police’s attention to crime in the environs of the Medical Campus. “Boston has dedicated several resources to it. We have a very good police presence—high visibility.”

The 1990 Clery Act requires colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid to publish each year by September 30 certain information about crime on and near their campuses. Under the law, the University reports crimes that happen in reportable buildings and the adjacent public property, which includes the sidewalk, the street, and the sidewalk across the street. The BUPD compiles the report from its records and those of various University offices, including Judicial Affairs and Residence Life, as well as records of area police departments, including those in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge.

Students needing help for stalking, domestic violence, or dating violence can contact the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center, 930 Commonwealth Ave., at 617-353-SARP (7277), or by email to sarp@bu.edu. All services are free and information is kept confidential. In urgent situations, students can also seek help at Student Health Services Behavioral Medicine, at 617-353-3569. University employees who experience stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence can contact the Faculty & Staff Assistance office, at 617-353-5381 or by email to sao@bu.edu. Students and staff can call the Boston University Police, at 617-353-2121, or Medical Campus Public Safety, at 617-414-4444.

Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

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

2 Comments on Expanded Reporting Ups Crime Numbers on Medical Campus

  • Logic Rules on 10.05.2016 at 8:26 am

    Move the methadone clinic elsewhere and see a drastic decrease in crime. protect the employees!

  • Esther on 10.05.2016 at 10:01 am

    Agreed!! BU employees need to walk past the methadone clinic to get to HR on Mass Ave. I dread having to go over there for flu shots, benefit stuff, whatever -its a total anxiety attack. I’ve tried walking around the block a different way to avoid it’s the entire radius of BUMC. I’ve been heckled & followed & the police presence does not deter it. No one cares. Move the clinic or find an actual solution with a little less talk & a lot more action. BU employees are not safe on the Medical Campus.

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