Harvard Continues Extra Yard Officers

Additional police officers hired in response to a robbery outside Thayer Hall last Thursday will continue to patrol the Yard this weekend, according to a Harvard University Police Department spokesman.

The confirmation comes on the heels of two additional robberies committed near campus after the Thayer incident. In total, at least eight robberies have been committed on or near campus since Oct. 30.

The latest robbery took place early Wednesday morning near the Harvard Square T stop, where three unarmed suspects—one of whom was apprehended later the same day—demanded that a Boston resident hand over his cell phone and money.

HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano did not give further details about the reasoning behind police staffing levels and declined to comment about specific security measures being taken during the upcoming Harvard-Yale weekend, citing a “longstanding policy of not discussing staffing levels or security measures.”

In response to a question about the petition started last Friday in response to the Yard robbery, Catalano wrote in an e-mail last night that there will be no identity checks required to enter the Yard this weekend or in the near future.

“As with any security measure, we work with University officials to determine if the plan would be effective while striking the proper balance between security and the freedom of movement,” Catalano added.

Of the eight incidents in recent weeks, three involved Harvard affiliates and six included armed assailants. Two victims—one a Harvard affiliate—were harmed non-lethally.

Two robberies took place on campus—in addition to the Yard robbery, the Harvard University Employee Credit Union was quietly robbed by an unarmed white male on Oct. 30.

The other six robberies all occurred within one block of Harvard property, stretching from the Quad to the Divinity School. Two of them were very close to the Harvard Square T stop.

Three of the eight robberies are believed to be committed by the same two people, who are also suspected to be related to a series of robberies in MIT last month. Cambridge police arrested one of the two suspects on Nov. 3 and “have solid leads that our investigators are following” to apprehend the other one, according to Cambridge Police Department spokesman Daniel M. Riviello.

HUPD and the Cambridge Police Department had arrested at least three suspects related to the other five robberies as of yesterday.

—Staff Writer Sirui Li can be reached at sli@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: November 20, 2010

Due to erroneous information from a source, an earlier version of the Nov. 19 news article "Harvard Scales Back Extra Yard Officers" incorrectly reported that Harvard scaled back extra police officers during Harvard-Yale weekend. According to HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano, the HUPD chief authorized continuing the extra patrol to increase visibility in light of heightened concerns.

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