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Boston University students call for escort service to extend off campus

Posted by Your Town  February 5, 2013 08:45 PM

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Despite four armed robberies and a stabbing nearby since late September, the area of North Brookline, where many Boston University students rent off-campus apartments, remains unserviced by the university’s security escort service.

The service, which provides students with an appointed walker to avoid traveling alone at night, is only offered from one on-campus location to another. Assistant Dean of Students and supervisor of the service, John Battaglino, said over the phone Monday that these crimes are “terrible” and “unprecedented.”

But Battaglino emphasized that “there has to be delineation to where we can service” and the university’s jurisdiction only goes so far. “We encourage students to live on campus,” he said.

In an effort to ease students’ alarm and stave off future crimes, BU and Brookline police departments issued statements last Tuesday assuring there will be an increase of patrols in the North Brookline area. Similar promises were made in the fall, when a string of three armed robberies occurred just blocks from where last week’s stabbing took place. There was yet another armed robbery in the same area on Jan. 19. For many, this stream of violent crimes begs the question: Should more be done?

After the most recent attack, Brookline police arrested two men last week on armed robbery charges after they allegedly used a credit card stolen Tuesday from a Boston University researcher to buy an MBTA Charlie Card.

Six BU students living in off-campus apartments in the North Brookline area were asked recently if they felt the university’s security escort service should be extended to include off-campus areas. Here are their responses:


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“Maybe it would be a good idea … if it’s within a certain distance of campus.”

– Joe Rafalak, 20, student in BU’s College of Arts and Sciences


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“I’ve always had an issue with [the escort service not being offered for off-campus locations]. But I think it’s kind of unfair for them. I mean, Dexter is very close to BU, so it’s OK. But some people might live really far away.”

– Si Pei Tan, 21, student in BU’s School of Management (Dexter Park is an apartment complex on Freeman St in Brookline.)


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“I definitely think that’s something that BU needs to do. I’ve personally called the escort service twice and asked them if they could take me, and they were like, ‘Sorry, we don’t take anyone off campus.’”

– Melina Indrasena, 20, student in BU’s School of Hospitality Administration


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“I just hope [the police] will increase their patrols.”

– Chai-Yu Chien, 25, student in BU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


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“Especially because all of the robberies are happening around off-campus housing, I think it would be smart.”

– Moriah Albert, 19, student in BU’s School of Hospitality Administration


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“I think they should offer it to people living off campus. I’m not saying I would necessarily call the escort service, but they don’t really offer any other option. So it’s kind of on us to take cabs.”

– Hannah Pastor, 19, student in BU’s College of General Studies

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Boston University News Service.


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