Community Advisory - Charles River Assault and Battery

October 4, 2017

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at approximately 11:50 PM a female undergraduate student reported to the Harvard University Police Department that she was assaulted while running along the Charles River near the intersection of Memorial Drive and Western Avenue. The victim reported that she was grabbed from behind by an unidentified male. The victim immediately began to struggle with the male and discharged pepper spray in an attempt to thwart her attacker. The victim was able to break away from the offender and fled the area and ran to the safety of one of the River Houses. The victim was unable to provide a detailed description of the offender.

Because this incident did not occur on Harvard University property, it is investigated by the Massachusetts State Police. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact the Massachusetts State Police Brighton Barracks at 617-727-4812.

If at any time you observe any type of suspicious activity or have been the victim of a violent crime, regardless of the location of the incident, please notify the Harvard University Police Department immediately at 617-495-1212. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to store the HUPD’s urgent number in their cell phone.

The Harvard University Police Department wants to remind students, faculty, and staff that we are located in an urban setting and share many of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city. Community members should be vigilant while walking throughout campus and surrounding areas both during the day and at night and to take the appropriate precautions, such as walking with others and utilizing walking escorts, taxi escort (Longwood campus), the shuttle bus and evening van service whenever possible. Students, faculty, and staff also may call the Harvard University Police Department at 617-495-1212 if they believe they are in danger while waiting for transportation due to the hour or circumstance. The Harvard University Police Department will assist with transportation whenever appropriate. Additional safety, escort, and transportation information can be found at

Persons should avoid talking on cell phones, listening to music, or walking too close to persons unnecessarily. If you suspect you are being followed, stay away from dimly lit areas and head for a store or building that you know to be open. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about someone near you, head for a populated area and call the Harvard University Police Department. If you are approached by someone displaying a weapon and demanding your property, it is recommended that you comply with the request and not resist.

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 2:15 PM on October 4, 2017.