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

MIT Crime Club, Feb 10, 2015 

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.

In 2009 the club sent two P.I.s to investigate a murder scene at Harvard.  Some of our findings are reported in last season’s Snapped: Killer Couples series, episode 2, “Brittany Smith and Jabrai Copney,” October 13, 2014.

“A Harvard student and a chart-topping music producer’s secret criminal life is exposed when a botched drug deal leads to murder…  SPECIAL THANKS: MIT Crime Club.” — Rudy Fischmann, Producer (at 43:22).


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.

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

Cambridge, Mass., Res. 37 of Sept. 26, 2011

Entrepreneurship Center judges selected club president Thea Koullias ’13 as one of the top ten contestants in the $100K Elevator Pitch Contest, Products & Services track.  She presented the club’s idea for a stolen-property recovery service and went on to use it as the foundation for the Tornero™ Business Plan, submitted to Mgmt 15.390, New Enterprises.

Minutes of related IAP project meetings.

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.”

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, “Marching Band Entry,” Life & Culture (blog), MIT Admissions.

Findings:  The instructions are incomprehensible to anyone who’s over the limit.

FAIR Fund invited the club to nominate a candidate for the semiannual 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.

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

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 14, 2006.

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 universally 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 study case for Mgmt Sem. 089, Starting Up New Technology-Based Business Enterprises at MIT.  Any intrepid Sloan entrepreneurs interested in taking over?

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.

October 2015. New data available for MIT and BU.

The evidence suggests that the “official website” of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement is an unsanctioned spoof site.  Check out the 2007 SPLMToday homepage, archived at  The site banner reads “Sudan People Liberation Movement”.  (See how many other clues you can 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 the homepage’s Subscribe module got deleted, and it stayed deleted for about a year.

The site banner also got rewritten.  It now reads “Sudan Peoples’ …”

But not “Sudan People’s

The Corporation has said that MIT 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.

MIT Crime Club was organized in 2004/05 by Margeaux Randolph ’04, Adora Asala ’04, and Shavonne Nyoka Hylton ’05 and recognized as an MIT Student Group in April 2005.  The group gives MIT and Harvard students an opportunity to initiate and implement public-safety projects.

Founding advisors:  James Herms ’87 and Betty Sultan, former Assistant Dean for Student Conflict Resolution & Discipline.

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Projects & History, MIT Crime Club (mod. Feb. 10, 2016).    Twitter |