On Nov. 14, Boston University students received an email from the BU police alerting them that in the past six weeks, five women had been assaulted. The suspect pushed the victims to the ground, lifted their skirts and took a picture of them, according to the email.
Officers from the BU Police Department said they are still investigating the assaults, assisting Boston PD in finding the suspect.
Immediately after receiving the email, some students questioned why they did not hear about the assaults earlier.
BUPD Captain Molloy told The Daily Free Press on Monday that some of the victims contacted BPD instead of the BUPD. The BUPD did not know about the fourth incident, which took place on Oct. 27, until Nov. 6, Molloy said.
Although that might explain the delayed alert, it brings to light a more pressing issue, that the BPD and the BUPD are in some way disconnected. Molloy said as far as BUPD is aware, all of the victims were students. If that was the case, then the BPD should have notified the BUPD immediately, not several days later. The delay in communication is disconcerting.
These incidents also reveal that not every BU student calls the BUPD to report a crime, despite that students are told at orientation to contact the BUPD in the event of an emergency. While these assaults occurred off campus, the BUPD has worked outside of its jurisdiction before in cases that involved the safety of BU students. Should students contact the BUPD first in cases such as these? Might patterns be revealed more quickly?
Looking forward, the BUPD needs to clarify whom students should call for on- and off-campus emergencies. It is not everyone’s first instinct to call the BUPD.
Over the course of the semester, students have seen an increase in the number of BU alerts and more transparency from the BUPD, which is reassuring. However, these incidents reveal that, if the disconnect continues to show, BUPD needs to reevaluate its relationship with the BPD.