Grad Student Blocks Intruder at Window

Man climbed fire escape of University apartment

A startled resident of a Harvard apartment complex was forced to defend her room on Wednesday night when an intruder attempted to climb through her window.

The female resident of the Holden Green complex—located a short way away from William James Hall on Kirkland Street—looked out her window at the adjacent fire escape to see a man taking photographs of her at around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).

When the graduate student screamed and moved to pull down her window shades, the man attempted to open the resident’s window.

The resident held the window closed, and the man was unable to gain entry to the room.

The man then either jumped off or fell down the fire escape and fled down Holden Street, according to HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano.

Catalano said glare in the window prevented the graduate student from providing a detailed description of the perpetrator, other than that he was wearing a shiny silver or gray winter coat with a hood tied tightly around his face.

If apprehended, the perpetrator will be arrested and charged with attempted breaking and entering, disorderly conduct and trespassing, Catalano said.

“We’re very concerned about this person and we wanted to get word out to the Holden Green community as soon as possible,” Catalano said.

HUPD dropped crime alert flyers throughout the complex yesterday.

Catalano said that neither the Cambridge Police Department nor HUPD has recently received any similar reports.

He added that HUPD responds to one or two such incidents annually, but the occurrence of such incidents is low.

Holden Green resident Ian M. Parker-Renga, a masters student at the Graduate School of Education, said the peeping incident will lead him to close the blinds of his first-floor room more often and to be more aware of suspicious persons.

He added that he never harbored such safety concerns while he grew up in Washington state.

“I am really concerned—I live here with my girlfriend,” Parker-Renga said. “I had felt we were isolated enough and safe enough here, but I suppose we can’t cut ourselves off from the community.”

Catalano said HUPD generally recommends that students keep their windows and doors locked at all times as deterrents against crime.

“Especially now that the colder months are ahead of us—when people have their windows closed for the winter—we encourage people to keep their windows locked,” he said.

Catalano added those concerned about people looking into their widows, should keep their shades down.

“We encourage people to be aware of any suspicious activity around fire escapes or first-floor windows, and we encourage people to call HUPD immediately if they do observe any suspicious activity,” he said.

—Staff writer Alan J. Tabak can be reached at tabak@fas.harvard.edu.

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