While walking to Emerson’s campus last Tuesday evening, a junior performing arts major was a victim of an unarmed robbery.
At around 7 p.m., the student, who prefers to remain anonymous, said he/she was walking past the Courtyard Marriott hotel on Tremont Street. A man approached him and told him to walk into the street, where two other men joined them. They took his phone and backpack — which contained his laptop — then ran away, according to the student.
“The biggest thing was I had so much information stored on my laptop,” said the student. “It’s where we keep everything, so to have that out of your hands and to have all of that information gone — its like I’m back at square one.”
After the incident, the student ran to the Emerson College Police Department office for help. He said he was disheartened by their response.
“It’s a little bit disappointing to go to campus, where you expect to be secure, and have the police officers not really able to help you, and be just kind of apathetic about the whole thing,” said the student. “It didn’t really sit well with me.”
The student said that none of the officers in the office asked him if he was okay; they just handed him a phone to call Boston Police.
“I wish they would have taken more care or more interest in what happened,” he said.
ECPD Chief Robert Smith felt that the officer that helped the student acted suitably for the situation.
“It seems like [the officer] did respond appropriately; he said in his report that the victim wasn’t hurt,” said Smith. “I don’t discount the victim’s feelings, but he had just been robbed. I’m sure it was a traumatic time.”
The student said although the incident didn’t make him feel less safe in Boston, it did make him feel less safe at Emerson.
“I’m a tour guide, and I constantly promote these high security standards we have so it was a little disheartening for me as an off-campus student to kind of have that security only exist on our college campus and not really extend past that.”
ECPD’s jurisdiction only extends to Emerson-owned or occupied properties, said Smith. And although Smith said ECPD could expand its jurisdiction, the Boston Police Department would still have primary jurisdiction over non-Emerson property.
“Even if [expanding our jurisdiction] was to occur, in this case it would have still been Boston Police, because it’s their primary jurisdiction,” said Smith. “Boston is a large city; it has all the problems that come with a large city. Occasionally you see something like this happen.”