Trigger warning: brief mention of SA and violence when describing statistics.
Wellesley, MA, has a relatively low crime rate compared to surrounding areas. The Federal Bureau of Statistics reports that, as of 2019, there had been seven violent crimes, zero murders or manslaughters, zero sexual assaults or robberies, seven aggravated assaults, 120 instances of property crime, and 15 burglaries reported out of a population size of 29,651. Compared to Boston, MA, with a reported population size of 698,941 in 2019, and 4,244 violent crimes, 42 murders or manslaughters, 231 rapes, 1,039 robberies, 2,932 aggravated assaults, an unknown number of property crimes, and 1,703 burglaries, Wellesley is statistically much more secure.
Despite the relatively low crime rate in Wellesley, there have been incidents on Wellesley College’s campus of note. From the incident of a man shouting at a student and knocking the phone out of their hand (Sept. 20, 2021) to the theft of catalytic converters from cars (Feb. 2022), unwelcome visitors can be spotted from time to time around campus. The latest published public safety incident involving students occurred during the fall semester of 2023.
“Sometime during the fall semester, I was notified that a small group of middle-school-aged boys had entered Severance Hall via the Tower Dining Hall and were walking around in the residential corridor,” said Anna Ehrlich, Community Director of Claflin, Severance Hall and Cedar Lodge.
The middle-schoolers were reported to have entered students’ dorms, invading private spaces with both their presence and their cameras. Residential Life student leaders were immediately notified by residents of Severance Hall, and the student leaders were able to locate the intruders, according to Ehrlich.
“All RAs, HPs and CDs have training around unauthorized guests in residence halls. Depending on the situation, student leaders could choose to approach the unauthorized guest directly, or call their building CD or the CD on call for support if they didn’t feel comfortable approaching the guest at that moment,” said Ehrlich, “If the situation was unsafe, the student leaders would likely call Public Safety directly who would dispatch an officer and the CD on call to respond.”
Ehrlich notes that her idea of community safety means that all individuals on this campus look out for each other, an idea reflective of Wellesley’s crime prevention strategy. According to the Wellesley College 2023 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, “The College’s crime prevention strategy rests on a multi‐layered foundation of proactive area patrol of the campus, crime prevention education and training, building and area security surveys, and property registration. This approach relies on minimizing criminal opportunities whenever possible, and encouraging community members to take responsibility for their own and other’s safety.”
“When something feels off or out of place, it’s okay to ask for help because it keeps our community safe,” said Ehrlich.
*Student interviews were not included to maintain privacy for victims of the break-in.