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4 Robberies Part Of a Crime Wave

By Nicole A. Sherry
Staff Reporter

The four on-campus armed robberies this week equal the total number of reported robberies in 1992. Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin does not think the crime wave is targeted directly at MIT, but is part of a city-wide problem.

In response to these robberies, Campus Police have increased security measures, while students appear to be relatively unconcerned.

There were three separate reports of on-campus robbery at gunpoint this past weekend. A fourth robbery occurred at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Amherst Alley entrance of Ashdown House.

The assailant approached the victim, held a knife at his side, and demanded the victim's wallet. When the victim replied that he did not have a wallet, the suspect searched the victim and removed $4 cash. The suspect then fled to Massachusetts Avenue. The victim was unharmed.

The victim described his assailant as a black male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, about 20 years old, and with a thin build. The assailant was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

These four crimes are the first reported on-campus robberies of 1993. They equal the total number of reported robberies last year, which included one armed robbery, one attempted armed robbery, and two unarmed robberies, according to Glavin.

In reaction to these incidents, Campus Police have increased police patrols during the late night hours and have requested additional aid from the Cambridge Police Department to patrol the perimeter of campus.

"We did this to create greater visibility and [hopefully to] apprehend suspects or deter it from happening again," Glavin said.

Campus Police are also working with Cambridge police and other area law enforcement agencies to determine the scope of the problem. They believe the recent crime wave is not confined to MIT but is Cambridge-wide.

The victims in other Cambridge robberies which occurred between Oct. 11 and Oct. 18 report assailants of similar descriptions and similar robbery methods. The police departments are trying to determine the suspects' identities by looking for matches among the victims' accounts.

These other incidents include two robberies involving a knife, one at 9:55 p.m. on Oct. 11 at the Kendall Square MBTA station and one at 1 p.m. on Oct. 12 on Essex Street.

Two other robberies were at gunpoint: one at 7:10 p.m. Oct. 14 on Harvard and Columbia Streets, and one at 10:30 p.m. Oct. 16 on Langdon Street.

There was one robbery where the assailant wielded a blunt object at 7:50 p.m. on Oct. 18 in a Stop and Shop parking lot.

Glavin urges students to be more cautious when traveling on campus and in the Cambridge area. "When students are out and about they need to be cognizant of [recent crime], especially in the late night hours," Glavin said.

Students, on the other hand, do not feel compelled to change their daily routines, although some have said that these crimes have heightened their awareness. Many have already become more cautious due to last year's murder along Memorial Drive and do not intend to adapt further.

However, students are generally surprised by the crime on Amherst Alley, which they previously considered a safe area. "It shocked me a little bit. I always thought I was pretty safe on Amherst Alley. Last year [crime] was more shocking, but this year I am more used to it," said a senior at Burton House.

Sarah Y. Keightley contributed to the reporting of this story.