Members of both the Brandeis University and Waltham police departments are working together in close proximity to address the recent series of incidents on South Street, Brandeis Head of Public Safety Ed Callahan confirmed in an email to The Brandeis Hoot this Thursday. “It is our protocol for Brandeis and Waltham police to work very closely together, and we are doing so now on this troubling series of off-campus incidents,” wrote Callahan. He also added that the departments have initiated “several proactive law enforcement measures,” but stated these would “not be prudent to discuss.”
Callahan was able to inform The Hoot of several technical measures being taken. “[Brandeis Police] are also adding lighting on the exterior of the power plant and East Quad parking lot areas,” he said. “We are installing a new emergency blue light phone near the power plant.” The date of this installation has not been confirmed as of press time.
There have been six reported incidents apparently targeting Brandeis students since November of 2015, with five reports of indecent exposure and one report of attempted robbery and assault. The most recent incident, one of indecent exposure, was reported to Public Safety on March 1 of this year. As The Hoot has recently reported, the exposures and attempted assault have made students, particularly female students, feel uncomfortable and unsafe even slightly off campus.
In an email sent to the Brandeis community on Feb. 24, Callahan wrote that the exposure occurred while the student was walking away from Brandeis’ campus towards Highland Street when they were accosted. The attempted robbery and assault was reported soon after it happened near campus on February 19, when the victim was grabbed from behind by an unknown party wearing a ski mask.
This description differs from Waltham Police’s description of the suspect involved with the indecent exposure incidents: a recent Waltham Police Department report listed the suspect as being around five feet, eight inches in height, with a stocky build, wearing dark pants and a white hoodie. The suspect has also been described as both “possibly Hispanic,” as well as light skinned and of Hispanic descent.
According to Callahan, the attacker ran away from the scene after the student began shouting. In his February 24 email, Callahan reminded community members of the availability of escort by Public Safety officers, and cautioned students to “please be mindful of your surroundings,” especially while walking alone and/or at night. Callahan wrote at the time that “students and staff are encouraged to travel in groups when possible,” and encouraged people not to wear headphones or other objects that might distract one from their surroundings. Students are encouraged to report all indecent or suspicious activity to Brandeis Police through the Department of Public Safety.