Campus, News

Students cautious after string of weekend robberies

Boston University students said they are more careful walking around West Campus and Brookline after three BU students were robbed in three different instances, one of which involved an armed suspect, on or near the Charles River Campus late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

“Just knowing that there are more cops around may scare robbers into rethinking their decisions and make the area a safer place,” said Rivah Clemons, a College of Communication freshman. “I just avoid the area altogether because crime has been so frequent there the past few semesters.”

Clemons said BUPD’s efforts to prevent more robberies are apparent.

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins said in an email sent to the BU community Saturday afternoon at least one individual robbed in each instance was a BU student. There were no injuries reported in any of the three incidents.

“The BUPD and area police departments will be providing additional patrols to these areas over the holiday weekend to prevent and deter criminal activity,” Robbins said. “ … Although your chances of being the victim of a crime are small, your personal commitment to your own safety is crucial.”

Robbins said while BU is in a relatively safe area, criminal activity is consistent with urban life.

The first robbery occurred at 1065 Commonwealth Ave., next to the Shaw’s Supermarket at about 11 p.m.

A BU student was walking alone in an alleyway when two males approached him. The first suspect was described as a white male in a North Face jacket standing between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8, of thin build with a possible right-eyebrow piercing. The second suspect was described as an Asian male of muscular build.

The suspects robbed the victim of his cellphone, Robbins said.

At about 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning, three people, one of whom was a BU student, were stopped by whom they described as two white males on St. Paul Street in Brookline.

The suspects presented a black handgun and took various items from the victims, including smartphones, Robbins said.

The first suspect was described as 6-foot-2 with a large nose, wearing a white, hooded sweatshirt and black jacket, and carrying the handgun. The second suspect was described as 5-foot-11, of heavy build and wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and a red scarf around his face.

A BU Alert was sent to students about this incident early Saturday morning.
At about 1 a.m. on Babcock Street, a female BU student was sitting alone on a set of steps and was pushed to the ground by suspects she described as a black male and a black female. The suspects took a small sum of cash and her cellphone, before driving away in an old, black sedan.

BUPD, Brookline Police Department and Boston Police Department are investigating the incidents.

Robbins said in the letter students can help protect themselves by concealing their valuables, walking in groups and reporting any suspicious activity to BUPD immediately. BUPD’s phone number is located on the back of every Terrier card.

“Together we share the responsibility for maintaining a safe environment,” Robbins said. “Each one of us can improve our community’s welfare by reporting crime and unsafe conditions, and by helping others.”

Georgia Hutchins, a College of General Studies freshman, said she lives in the area of the third robbery and finds it uncomfortable.

“I live on West Campus and my window looks out on Babcock Street where one of the robberies happened,” Hutchins said. “I didn’t go out that night so I was glad I stayed in, but that area in particular creeps me out.”

Hutchins said not everyone at BU comes from a metropolitan area, so some might be unfamiliar with how cities can be more dangerous than rural areas.

“Police should patrol that area more, especially on the weekends, but their resources are limited because there are so many dark places in Allston and Brighton,” Hutchins said. “It’s not part of the campus so I feel like it’s more up to the students making wise decisions when going out.”

Sebastian Siembieda, a School of Management sophomore said he still feels unsafe walking home, especially because he lives off campus.

“The walk home from where many BU students live — Allston, Brookline and Fenway — isn’t exactly brief,” Siembieda said. “It’s appalling that [Boston University Shuttle] service doesn’t even go to South [Campus] or 1019 [Commonwealth Ave.] on a regular basis, let alone off campus.”

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