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Police: Another woman attacked on the Esplanade

State Police are investigating an incident early this morning in which a woman was sexually assaulted and then thrown into the Charles River near Massachusetts Avenue, State Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's office report.

Authorities say they do not yet know if the attack is linked to a series of other sexual attacks in recent years along the Esplanade - or to a non-sexual attack in the same area in June in which a woman was also thrown in the river.

The victim, a 20-year-old student at a local college, did not at first report the attack to police, but instead to a man who wound up with her purse and who went to BU Police to report her story and turn in her purse, according to the DA's office. State Police used identification in the purse to find her.

State Police say she declined medical attention and did not provide a description of her assailant.

The DA's office and State Police have long urged anybody walking along the Esplanade at night:

To be vigilant, to travel with friends if possible, stay in well-lit areas, avoid one-on-one contact with strangers, and not accept rides from strangers. Anyone out in these areas is urged to carry a cell phone and should call 911 to immediately be connected to State Police if they are if they are in trouble or feel threatened.

In the earlier cases - and a similar attack at Moakley Park in South Boston - the victims described their assailant as a clean-shaven African-American male in his mid-20s to mid-30s, 5'8" to 5'10" and a shaved head.

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Comments

Another thing to do is not be out there late at night. IIRC all of these attacks have been after 11pm with some of them happening at like 1 or 2 in the morning. That's pretty late to be going from a stroll along the esplanade when a rapist is loose.

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People should be able to walk along the Esplanade late at night, and they do.

It's not like someone is getting attacked every night there.

There will always be the risk of a random crazy person outside. And there will be gangs and thugs in parts of town as long as you have broken social programs.

But if you think outside is too dangerous after 11pm, then you should either vote in better politicians, who'll improve the safety, or you should move to someplace better.

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No. Blaming the victim is saying "she dressed like a slut." This is calling for some extra vigilance and different behavior.

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Utter nonsense.
It's more dangerous at night everywhere and for everyone. Criminals use the darkness and solitude to ensure their crimes go unnoticed.

"Someplace better" will in fact be much less better in the early morning.

This will happen regardless of the politicians or social programs involved.

I'm a grown man capable of defending myself and I wouldn't stroll the Esplanade on any other isolated area late at night.
Because the odds are astronomically higher for foul play.

These incidents don't sound like random craziness at all. More like quite rational predations.
Of course you can run into crazies anywhere- that isn't what deters me.

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It's more dangerous at night everywhere and for everyone.

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Sanity, please.

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Thanks, Not Whitey.
Good Lord, Swirrly.
First, this is a internet forum, not a PhD dissertation.
I don't need to cite what's been common knowledge for millennia.
Second, there's a reason people bunkered down and made themselves as safe as they could after dark since time immemorial, and it isn't b/c they were afraid of the dark.
They were afraid of the people who used the cover of darkness for nefarious purposes.

Answer this and be honest SiGirl and go with your instinct-
Would you rather break down on a country road and have to walk for miles for help at 3pm or 3am?

Do you feel safer in the city at either of those times?

There's good reason for that.

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Where are the statistics that prove that night time is danger time? Put up or shut up.

"common knowledge" != factual reality

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Nah, I don't care enough about your safety or winning an Internet argument.
I suggest you get the facts yourself though.
So you don't end up having a cop explain it to you when you're reporting a violent crime.
Found this in 2 secs.
Every school warns their students.
Why is that?

http://www.bu.edu/safety/advice/index.shtml

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You won't take the DA's and Staties' word for it?
Good luck, you're gonna need it.

"The DA's office and State Police have long urged anybody walking along the Esplanade at night:

To be vigilant, to travel with friends if possible, stay in well-lit areas, avoid one-on-one contact with strangers, and not accept rides from strangers. Anyone out in these areas is urged to carry a cell phone and should call 911 to immediately be connected to State Police if they are if they are in trouble or feel threatened."

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... who want you to think there is a terrorist on every train.

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Series of rapes on the espalnade recently- this isn't the bogeyman under your bed.

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Wow. Now that is quite an assertion!

Without going into a history of crime for millennia (which, technically, means 1,000 plus years), from my reading of history through different points during the millennia, one would not travel anytime during the day or night on certain roads due to the instances of highwaymen and other nefarious sorts. Some roads, especially in England, were notorious for their danger at any hour, as well as the cities (but I digress.)

Personally, I was mugged twice: Once during broad daylight, the other at night. So this proves, what?

If you are making a statement that more crime happens at night, I see no problem with others calling you on it.

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Never said more crime happens at night.
I said it's more dangerous at night. Get it straight.
More crime probably happens during the day b/c there are many more potential victims and perps out and about.
But it 's more dangerous (to the individual) at night b/c there are predators relying on the darkness and isolation. Combine that with perhaps 1000x fewer people and the few honest people out there are in a more dangerous situation.

This is from Oberlin College's website:

Walking Safety Escort Services are provided upon request from dusk to dawn for anyone walking alone on campus.

From dusk til dawn. Night time.

All safety tips from colleges and police departments say the same thing- stay away from unlit and desolate areas. At night places are more unlit and desolate than in the day.
Are they all wrong?

I would suggest that the places treacherous by day in old England were more dangerous at night.

Let's take the case in hand:

4 rapes on the Esplanade late at night in the past however months.
Zero rapes in the daytime during the same time period.

And many more people used the park during the day.

Millions of people used the park during daylight in those months and not one got raped.
Let's say 1/4 of that amount used it at night- 4 of those people were raped.

i'll take my chances in the daytime.

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Doesn't the park close at dusk? And if so, then maybe you aren't supposed to be walking around there at 1 A.M.?

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The bathroom facilities may close down at dusk but there's never been an esplanade curfew.

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Per the DCR website, the park closes at dusk. Whether that means you can't be there or not, I don't know (I understand that even if you can't, it isn't enforced).

Edit: Meh, I guess if they give safety tips for walking through at night, then they certainly don't mind if you're there.

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As I said that probably means that the few facilities there like the bathrooms, the concession stand etc close. They're not barring you from entering and never have

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While I don't know the details for the Esplanade, some parks still allow you to pass through while they're closed.

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since Hatch Shell events regularly run much later than dusk. I bet that some baseball games on the 'Red Sox Fields' north of the Longfellow do as well.

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...be able to walk through a park at any time of night wearing anything you want and not be attacked.

...be able to leave your car unlocked and not have people break into them.

...go on vacation with all of your windows open and doors unlocked and not have anything missing when you get back.

...leave your purse/wallet on a chair at McDonald's and come back three hours later and find it still there with all of the cash still inside.

But the fact is you can't. And expecting people to take even the most basic, reasonable precautions to protect themselves is not "blaming the victim." It's asking people to understand that we don't live in a perfect world, and all the politicians and social programs in the world are not going to get rid of risk, and people need to take steps to mitigate those risks, and if they don't, then they need to understand what they can do in the future to mitigate the chances of a repeat of the incident.

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At the link is the last word on how to prevent sexual assault which apparently commenters on this thread really need to read: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/269311-how...

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The same plan works to prevent muggings, assaults, shootings, thefts, arson, child abuse...

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But addressing a "how to prevent muggings" screed directly to all black men seems somehow offensive. She's nothing, if not sensitive.

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Cute, but as a practical matter relying on rapists not to rape seems like a poor strategy for rape prevention.

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Things like this cause more harm than they prevent. Whenever I read something like this, I feel it's even more demeaning to potential victims of rape, because it puts 100% of the agency with the attacker.

It says the victim is just that: a passive object hoping against hope that someone will have seen this post, said to themselves "wow, this is really powerful," and then later on thinking again, "you know, I remember reading this webpage once that said I shouldn't rape, so I'm not going to rape tonight".

It says people who are raped or might be raped have absolutely no control over what happens to them and no way to fight back.

It says events in their lives are completely dictated by other people and there is nothing they can do to stop them.

It says only women can be victims of rape.

It says women can't do anything to stop rape.

It says men (all of them) are the problem.

It says that men (and only men) can do anything about it.

These posts are just ways for "feminists" (the poster claimed that title) to speak into the echo-chamber that is the hole in the sand in which they hide their heads. Note the comments on that webpage.

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That's some stretching you're doing there. But please, continue on about how what a rape victim is wearing actually plays a role in their getting raped (hint: it doesn't; most rapists don't remember what the victims were wearing and it's been postulated that they're more likely to go after someone who dresses more conservatively because "slutty" clothing implies confidence and that's not what rapists are after) or how even having a discussion on what percentage of blame goes to the rapist and the victim is a discussion worth having.

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This. There's a difference between right and prudent. Yes, someone should be able to go jogging any time anywhere and not be attacked. But people should take prudent precautions to keep themselves safe. One of these is to maybe avoid dark areas of the city late at night.

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But I sure am going to continue to walk through the park after dark, whether it's for getting home from work or an event, or just a relaxing stroll.

A lot of people do. Go look if you don't believe me.

BTW, I'm not sure where you're coming from with the "wearing anything you want" bit, but surely you know that's part of the worst classic "blame the victim."

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It's not about not being out after dark. In these cases most of the victims were out there fairly late at night. In this case the news is reporting it as 3am. That's pretty damn late and apparently there's not enough people out there to deter rapists from trying to assault people.

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Stupidity Tries

- Elliott Smith

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on a bike is wicked fun. My buddy and I go about once a week, and have been doing so for a year now. We wear sprayed glo-Orange helmets and lots of vision gear along with lights to stay safe and appear legitimate.

Usually we go along at least a portion of the Esplanade. Keep in mind this is any time between 3 and 5 in the morning. ALMOST EVERY TIME THERE IS SOME GUY WEARING ALL BLACK LURKING AROUND IN THE DARK. One time a guy actually jumped out of the bushes at us.

Riding through the Esplanade at an easy 15mph is one thing. I would NEVER walk through at that time of night. I'm a big guy who went to Boston Public Schools his whole life. I can defend myself. I'd just rather not have to.

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because I cannot believe that someone would see/experience what you allegedly have, and not have almost immediately pulled out a mobile phone and reported what you saw/experienced to the state police, replete with specific details and a location.

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I ride at night for fun, not crime patrol. If I saw an actual crime or the immediate result of one, I would hastily report it. Being sketchy isn't a crime. Jumping out of bushes isn't a crime. Staties already know about the kind of characters that appear there at night.

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why I didn't do anything about the guy who jumped out of the bushes at us. Because he was homeless. Doing it as a joke. Which only further illustrates why I wouldn't walk there during the dead of night.

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I often find it safer than biking during the day, because the traffic is so much less.

Have I been harassed while biking at night? Yes. By cops. Sorry, but biking with a reflective vest, front led light bright enough for a motorcycle and rear flashers is not a crime - and I don't need a reason to be out, or special permission either. (I happened to be riding home from work when I was covering for a lab tech and had a timed assay running).

There is an occasional asshat who thinks it is funny to jump out and say "boo", but those are usually so drunk and obvious as to present no hazard, only a laugh.

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I've never been bothered by the cops. Even in Brookline, where I expect it the most. But I have had the drunk asshat situation happen a few times. Especially the night the B's took the cup. That was a great ride...

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It took me a while to realize that some groups of people scatter when they see that headlight and the vest: they think I might be a cop.

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I also ride through some rougher parts of town, but I save them until "very early morning," if you will. I figure the gangstas are off in dreamland by 4am. I experience said scattering most often in the Albany/Harrison/E. Berkeley/I-93 area. I figure its just drug-deal paranoia. I don't stop to ask...

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I've seen men standing around awkwardly on the Esplanade late at night. Usually, I think they're probably gay cruising.

Or maybe they're just sitting on a park bench and thinking.

Or maybe they're just walking through like me.

I'm not going to call the police on any of these people, because they're not doing anything wrong, and they're almost certainly not criminals.

If I was in the Esplanade at night, walking or thinking or writing or photographing or something, and someone called the police on me, I'd think that person was not only an idiot and but was violating my rights to be left the hell alone. I'll be in the park looking for peace and to get a little bit further from Massholes, not looking for idiocy and harassment.

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From the original commenter's tone, the fact that s/he went out of his/her way to point out that someone was "lurking" and the fact that s/he was commenting here, I presumed this person to have knowledge of the attacks on the Esplanade. I still believe that to have been the case (and in any event, certainly s/he knows for his/her next 3 a.m. ride).

It is, of course, a basic tenet of our legal tradition that no one has an affirmative duty to do anything to help anyone else (except in very limited circumstances not relevant here). But given the description of events and circumstances, I was pointing out that I thought it strange that one wouldn't have made a call. Similarly, it is not harassment to call the police to report someone who is behaving suspiciously (quibble if you like, but I maintain that the description offered in the original comment would be considered suspicious behavior by most Bostonians, even if not the UH commentariat).

As for the implication that I would be an idiot for calling on you, well, if you were walking, thinking, writing, sitting on a park bench looking at the moon reflect of the Charles or taking pictures thereof, I would not have any reason to call the police, because these are, of course, normal things to do in a city.

On the contrary, if you had be wearing black and lurking around in the bushes, and I had the knowledge that I do of recent events down there, yeah, I would have called, if for no other reason that I would not want to think about how I would feel if yet another woman was attacked. If you had jumped out at me, as described in the original commment, the call would have been merely to report that I had restrained and immobilized someone who had assaulted me. Similarly, if I had been on my bike, I would have called to report that I had just hit some idiot wearing all black that jumped out in front of me, and as a result, that person was unconscious and needed medical assistance.

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I commented on this thread due to my past experiences riding along the Esplandade during the night. I have no other specific knowledge of the attacks. Bear in mind, I'm riding and only have a second to judge whether someone's behavoir is innocently noctural, rather than suspicious and possibly criminal. That being said, if I were to go out tonight and see a lurker (espcailly one matching the description), I would absolutley make a call. The more memorable/suspicious lurkers I saw were back in the spring, before this most recent attack, and even before the previous one this summer, if memory serves me correctly.

I should have been more clear about the bush-hider. As I have since mentioned (and should of in the first place) he was homeless. My buddy and I had taken a break from our ride and were sitting on a bench for a breather. Our safety gear makes us quite visible from afar, and he must've seen us on the bench. Just as we were starting up, he kinda barrell-rolled out of this bush and made some indecipherable yell. The bugger startled me, and he's lucky I wasn't going faster, or I wouldn't have been able to avoid him. He also wasn't wearing black, he was wearing, well, dirt. So I was able to quickly recognize he's not a criminal, just an asshat who likes surprises. But, yes, I understand my original description made him seem more criminal.

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"wicked fun" <3 yay, boston!

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Is it too much to expect people to exercise some common sense? I fully appreciate that ideally, folks would not go around committing felonies and it would be real nice if we could all walk wherever we pleased 24 hours a day (and we can). But, at a certain point doesn't common sense tell one to avoid certain situations?

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Common sense ain't that common.
Especially with some if the UH crowd.
They want citations proving the Esplanade is more dangerous at 3am than 3pm

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I'm sorry, but I don't buy the whole "women should stay in at night ... for their safety!" bullshit.

It ain't got nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with controlling where women go, what they do, and how they live their lives by ginning up the fear.

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Your own bias is showing.
The people advocating staying off the streets late at night are recommending it for men and women.

Is Simmons College "controlling" its students?

From Simmons College:
"Safety Tips
Safety Precautions
As always, the College is concerned for the safety of our community members. We recommend the following precautions to maximize your safety:

Be aware of your surroundings, don't wear headphones
Do not walk alone, particularly at night
Always walk in populated, well-lit areas"

Are they trying to control their students?

They actually lock the place up at night for safety's sake:

"The gates encircling the Residence Campus are closed every night at 11:00 p.m. Students and their guests who wish to enter or leave the campus after 11:00 p.m. must do so through Simmons Hall. Gates are unlocked at 6:00 a.m. Jumping the fence surrounding the campus is prohibited. Students are prohibited from accessing window ledges."

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Well played, sir (or madam).

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Why, thank you.

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I was curious and did a little web searching. Looks like it's different for different cities. In NYC it seems people are much more likely to be murdered at night. But some other cities look wildly different.

Some links:
http://www.trulia.com/crime/
http://insights.truliablog.com/vis/when-crime/#Ass...
http://projects.nytimes.com/crime/homicides/map

I don't know how reliable these charts are; I just found them on the web.

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I was curious as well and I went to what most folks consider THE definitive crime tracking organization in the U.S., the F.B.I. I was unable to find the crime stats broken out by time of the day.

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It looks like all they've got online with day/night info is burglaries. http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_07.html
Not really useful for this discussion, unfortunately.

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