Community Advisory - Burglaries -Yard Dorms and River Houses

February 3, 2020

Over last weekend, 2/1/20 and 2/2/20, the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) responded to six (6) reports of thefts occurring in River Houses and Yard dorms.  In three (3) of the incidents, doors were either left unsecured or a key was left in the door.  In two (2) of the incidents, property was stolen during a party.  In three (3) of the incidents a suspect(s) entered rooms that were occupied.  In the thefts occurring in occupied rooms, the residents did not observe or have any contact with the offender(s.) Overall, six (6) laptops, five (5) jackets,  three (3) AirPods, two (2) backpacks, two (2) wallets,  two (2) phones, and other miscellaneous items were stolen during these thefts.

It is unclear whether all these incidents are connected. All of these incidents are being actively investigated by HUPD detectives.  If you have any information about these incidents, please call the Harvard University Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 617-495-1796.

Although unlawful entries (burglaries) into occupied rooms are very rare, the HUPD wants to remind you of precautions you should take to keep yourself and your valuables safe. 

  • Residents should not prop interior or exterior doors at any time, hold an outside door open for strangers or allow strangers to “piggyback” on their access card. 
  • Residents should keep their room doors locked at all times even when in the room or when going down the hall for only a few minutes. 
  • If at any time you observe someone acting in a suspicious manner in your building or attempting to enter residences, please call the Harvard University Police Department at 617-495-1212 immediately.  Suspicious behavior may include a stranger knocking on your door and asking an out-of-place question, such as “did you lose these keys,” or making an excuse for being found in your room (“I was looking for …”). 
  • Residents should close their windows when leaving their rooms, even for short periods of time; should not disengage the “ventilation stop” on first-floor windows; and should keep all property away from windows in order to prevent someone from reaching in and removing it. 
  • If you arrive home and it appears that entry has been made to your room, please do not enter.  Call the Harvard University Police Department immediately at 617-495-1212 from the safety of a neighbor’s room.  At no time should you enter the room, touch anything, or confront someone in the room or the building.  


For more detailed information on safety and security please read the Harvard University Police Department's annual security report entitled "Playing it Safe”, which can be found at .


For questions about this advisory, please contact the Harvard University Police Department's Public Information Officer, Steven G. Catalano, at 617-495-9225 or by email at


Disseminated at 12:30 PM on February, 3, 2020.