In the case of campus crime, notifying students quickly is crucial, and the BU Alert system may be falling short. After robberies around campus seemed to peak last September and October, Boston University students were victim to three more robberies this weekend, one of which was armed.
The first robbery occurred at 12:15 am on Saturday. The BU Alert system notified the student body of the event at 1:05 am. According to the alert, three victims, one of whom was a BU student, were robbed at gunpoint near St. Paul Street and Freeman Street in Brookline.
The Daily Free Press reported Saturday that, as aforementioned, there were in fact three separate robberies that took place that night, despite only one alert warning students of one robbery.
The first occurred near Shaw’s at about 11 p.m. Friday. Two male suspects robbed a BU student of his cellphone. The second was the armed robbery. The third instance involved a female BU student at 1 a.m. sitting alone on her steps on Babcock Street. She was pushed to the ground and robbed of cash and her cellphone.
The Boston University, Brookline, and Boston Police Departments are investigating the incidents.
In the meantime, however, BU students are beginning to complain about the lack of crime alert communication by the BUPD Alert System. BU Alert text messages were sent late if at all, meaning that students were unaware of the breach in their safety and the safety of their classmates until after the fact.
It is true that defeating crime entirely on an urban campus is impossible. Risk of robbery — especially at night — is part of going to school in the city, and it’s important to remain generally aware of this. But students should be made aware as soon as possible when there has been dangerous activity in their area so that they can take the necessary precautions to prevent being robbed themselves. Delay in reporting instances puts other students at risk. Communicating issues of safety is the most important thing. Additionally, it is the most effective way of making students feel safe.
If BU Alerts won’t do that important job, there needs to be a better system of letting students know that their urban campus is, in fact, dangerous.
Perhaps the increased weekend patrols of campus-area parties by the BUPD will aid in reducing the amount of robberies. Continue to watch your safety: walk with friends, and walk in more populated areas whenever possible.