Two armed robberies reported near campus

Two armed robberies have been reported near the Medford/Somerville campus during the past two weeks – one at Blakeley Hall on campus and another at the corner of Chester Avenue and Brookings Street in Medford.

A breaking and entering incident at Blakeley Hall occurred around 11:50 p.m. on Sept. 13, according to an email sent out to the Tufts community by the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD). During the robbery, a Tufts student encountered an unknown male in his first floor room. The male brandished a knife and told the student to leave, disappearing out the window with a laptop and cell phone belonging to the victim. No one was injured in the process.

The suspect being perused in the investigation of the robbery has been described as a tall white male in his early 20s, with blonde hair and a thin build.

TUPD Deputy Chief Mark Keith explained that all available information regarding the Blakeley incident had been disclosed. 

The second robbery happened about a week later on Sept. 18 in Medford at approximately 7:30 p.m., according to another safety alert email TUPD sent to the Tufts community. A local resident approached the suspect, believing that he was in need of assistance. The suspect then took out a pocketknife and demanded the contents of the victim’s pockets. The victim shoved the suspect to the ground before fleeing on his bicycle, and the victim was not physically injured.

The suspect of the Medford robbery was described as a white male in his early 20s, with short, brown facial hair and a medium build.

These incidents do not appear be related, and the Medford Police Department is currently investigating the robbery on Chester Avenue and Brookings Street, according to Keith.

In response to the two robberies, TUPD released an email to the community that urges students to taken certain precautions to protect themselves. Keith also wishes to remind students to be aware of their surroundings when walking around outside.

“If possible, walk in groups,” he said. “If you do have to get around at night and you don’t feel comfortable, then by all means use the [Tufts GoSafe] service.”

Tufts GoSafe – an escort resource for students on campus – is provided seven days a week from sunset to sunrise, according to the Tufts Department of Public and Environmental Safety website. The safety service is available to all members of the Tufts community.

Keith also advised students to take normal security precautions around their living spaces, such as locking their doors. 

“To avoid break-ins when you leave either your dorm rooms or apartments, make sure everything is secured, that windows are locked,” Keith said. “Window stops, if you have them, should be engaged. Shades down, lights off inside the room. Any valuables should be stowed away.”

In addition, when confronted with a situation like an armed robbery, Keith advises that students try not to engage the subject.

“Retreat if all possible and call the police immediately, whether it be 911 for local police or the Tufts police emergency number at 617-627-6911,” he said.