MIT Crime Club: MIT mascot Tim the Beaver as fearless campus crimestopper

MIT Crime Club, Mar 7, 2014 

Radio transmissions on MIT, Harvard, and Cambridge police channels are rebroadcast live from the club’s scanner in streaming MP3 format.  Listen in!

Bicycle theft prevention technology:  illustration photos description.

Entrepreneurship Center judges selected club president Thea Koullias ’13 as one of the top ten contestants in the 2011 $100K Elevator Pitch Contest products & services track.  Koullias presented the club’s idea for a stolen-property recovery service.

Koullias and three Sloan Fellows  Moreno Buehler, UBS; Arthur Rogers, U.S. Army Special Forces; and David Rosenman, Mayo Clinic  went on to use the idea as the foundation for their Tornero™ Business Plan, submitted to Mgmt 15.390, New Enterprises.

Minutes of the IAP 2011 project meetings.

FAIR Fund invited the club to nominate a candidate for the Fall 2007 Dru Scholarship Award, supporting efforts by students to combat violence against women.  Club member Brittan Smith (Harvard ’09) shared the $1500 award for her work in making a drink-spiking test kit available to students at the College.

Members have been known to give away free saliva-alcohol test strips.

“Someone from the Crime Club … gave us kits to detect dangerous drugs in cocktails or determine somebody’s blood alcohol level from their saliva.  Ken was very happy, because as an ASA person he allocated money to the crime club ….
 Sam Maurer, “MIT Marching Band Entry,” Life & Culture Blog, MIT Admissions.

Findings:  The instructions are incomprehensible to anyone who’s over the limit.  (But the device manufacturer says it’s willing to redesign the label.)

The Campus Crimestoppers have been trying to find a personal-safety device that actually works.  We’ve determined that chemical sprays are a bad idea if you’re facing upwind; that whistles are predictably ignored; and that “tactical flashlights” are almost effective ... meaning, useless.

Eventually we gave up and designed our own device, an optoacoustic “sonic flashlight.”  A description appears in our Venture Information Form.

The director of the Entrepreneurs Club invited the team to serve as the Fall 2007 study case for Mgmt. Sem. 089, Starting Up New Technology-Based Business Enterprises at MIT.  Any intrepid Sloan entrepreneurs interested in taking over?

Jessica Fargen “MIT Kids Send Spies to Harvard: Slaying prompts closer study of campus security,” Boston Herald, June 3, 2009.

Jason Schwartz, “The Case of the Gumshoe Geeks: The curious MIT club that's taken on a murder investigation as an afterschool project,” Boston Magazine, August 2009.

Charges Dismissed Against Massachusetts PI,” Investigation, PI Magazine, November/December 2009.

“One apparent implication is that investigators may take photographs in residential common areas at universities without being subject to immediate arrest.  Permission can be granted by an occupant of the residence hall floor.”

In 2010 the Harvard College Crime Club was organized by students “looking to MIT’s Crime Club as an example.” — Xi Yu, “CSI: Harvard,” Harvard Crimson, January 30, 2010.

In Resolution 37 of September 26, 2011, the Cambridge City Council thanked the Campus Crimestoppers for making the campus and the city a safer and more welcoming environment for students.

Which dorm won the club’s 2008 Sparky the Fire Dog Award for Not Setting Off as Many Fire Alarms as Last Year?  Hear East Campus House Manager Joe Graham’s interview with the club on Droppin’ Knowledge (WMBR radio broadcast, April 30, 2009).

In summer 2012 a woman was attacked in Harvard Yard while walking on an unlit designated pathway posted as a public detour.  The university responded by altering the sign at Johnston Gate.
   Aug 09.  “Detour —>” (arrow points to Yard).
   Aug 10.  Woman raped in Yard.
   Aug 11.  “Detour <—>” (arrow points to Yard and to West Cambridge).

Detour: Sidewalk Closed. Sign on Peabody St by Johnston gate

Take care: the university doesn’t routinely patrol the designated pathways; nor does the City.

Marjan Rafat ’06 (Harvard PhD ’12) served as a Police Log Compiler at The Tech and went on to become the first Police Log Compiler for MIT & Harvard at the Cambridge Chronicle.

Rafat with other Club members, Police Log, Tech, April 28, 2006; Witlin & Rafat, Crime Watch, Cambridge Chronicle, September 13, 2006.

April 2010.  Of the twelve largest universities in Massachusetts, MIT reports the highest theft rate.
 
University | (Net value of property stolen)/(10,000 degree-seeking students enrolled) | Stolen-property recovery rate

      MIT $ 306,000       2.5%
  Harvard $  156,000 7.4%
  Boston Univ. $    97,000 5.0%
  Northeastern $    71,000 5.8%
  UMass–Amherst      $    62,000 7.5%

“Uniform Crime Reporting Record Card (2008; 2009),” in FBI, Supp. to Return A Master File (2009; 2010), available in E-mail from CJIS_COMM to MIT Crime Club (2011).  FBI, Crime in the United States, 2004; 2005; 2008; 2009.

June 2012.  MIT hires five additional patrol officers.

The “official website” of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement appears to be counterfeit.  Check out the 2007 SPLMToday homepage, archived at http://mitcrimeclub.org/stp/.  The site banner reads “Sudan People Liberation Movement”.  (How many other clues can you spot?)

On January 16, 2008, the Club received an e-mail message from Robert Wong, Deputy Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy in Khartoum:

“Please understand we are neutral in this, but are very curious about this claim (which I take very seriously).”

On January 18 Wong forwarded the Club’s reply to SPLM leadership.  A week later someone deleted the homepage’s Subscribe module.  It stayed deleted for about a year.

Someone also rewrote the site banner to read “Sudan Peoples’ …”.

But still not “Sudan People’s”.

MIT Corporation has said the Institute must make an exception to its policy on matters not affecting its core mission and must take “action” to address crime in Sudan... So we did!

The MIT Crime Club is an MIT Student Group that gives students a chance to initiate and implement public-safety projects.  The group was organized in 2004/05 by Margeaux Randolph ’04, Adora Asala ’04, and Shavonne Nyoka Hylton ’05.  Description.

Questions about the club?  E-mail mitcrimeclub@gmail.com

Projects & History, MIT Crime Club (mod. Mar. 7, 2014).    Twitter |