Community Advisory - Indecent Assault and Batteries, Harvard Square area

September 9, 2015

The following alert was just released by the Cambridge Police Department.

Safety information below the alert.

Cambridge Police Highlight Recent Increase in Indecent Assault & Batteries
in Harvard Square Area

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 9, 2015 -- The Cambridge Police Department are cautioning women who live, work or frequent the Harvard Square area to be aware of a recent increase in Indecent Assault and Batteries. 

Officers are currently investigating a report that a woman was indecently assaulted while walking near the intersection of Garden Street and Massachusetts Avenue towards Harvard Square last night at approximately 8:30 p.m. The victim reports a suspect bumped into her with his shoulder and then grabbed her buttocks.  The suspect fled from Harvard Square and a search of the area by the Cambridge Police did not generate any results.   

The victim stated the suspect was a black male in his mid-20s, approximately 5'10" with a stocky build, short hair and a white t-shirt. 

As noted in a recent community advisory, similar incidents have occurred in the following areas:

  • Garden Street on Wednesday, August 26 at approximately 10:15 p.m.
  • Brattle Square on Friday, August 28 at approximately 7:35 p.m. 
  • Massachusetts Avenue on Sunday, August 30 at 7:23 p.m. (Ronald Cattouse was arrested for Indecent Assault & Battery)
  • New: Garden Street on Monday, August 31 at approximately 8:20 p.m.
  • The suspect(s) in these incidents was described as a black male with a stocky build, approximately 5’8” – 5’10”.

Outside of Harvard Square, the Cambridge Police have made two recent Indecent Assault and Battery arrests.

Bruce Burke, Jr., a 25-year-old from 240 Albany Street in Cambridge, was arrested on Sunday, August 6 after a woman was indecently assaulted while walking on Cambridge Street near Middlesex Probate and Family Court at approximately 7:44 p.m.  Burke reportedly passed a group of woman on a Cambridge Street sidewalk, reached back and intentionally slapped one victim on her buttocks with an open hand.  He reportedly smiled, laughed and continued to walk away.  Officers with the Cambridge Police Department quickly located Burke standing in the dark against a nearby house after the victim provided them with a description.  He was placed under arrest and transported to the Cambridge Police.

Ronald Byrd, a 50-year-old from 53 Woodbine Street in Quincy, was arrested for Indecent Assault and Battery on Thursday, September 3 after he was witnessed by officers on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square inappropriately touching a woman sleeping on a street bench.   

Cambridge Police are actively working with the Harvard University Police Department to investigate these incidents and have directed patrols in the Harvard Square area. At this point in the investigation, it has not been determined if the suspects who have been arrested are connected to the outstanding Indecent Assault and Batteries. Anyone with information about these incidents are encouraged to call the Cambridge Police Department at 617-349-3300, submit anonymous tips by texting Tip411 (847411) -  begin your message with Tip650 and then type your message - or e-mail via the Cambridge Police MyPD app. 

            # # #

The Cambridge Police Department is committed to the enforcement of laws and preservation of order that protect the rights and property of every person within the City of Cambridge. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of police service and to impact crime, and its associated elements, through the utilization of new and proven crime prevention strategies and problem-solving partnerships with our community.  For more information, follow @CambridgePolice on Twitter, or access the department’s Facebook page at


Media Contact:

Cambridge Police Department
Public Information Office



From the Harvard University Police Department:

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 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 "Playing it Safe" booklet, which can be found at


For transportation and escort information please visit  


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 6:10 PM on September 9, 2015.