MIT mascot Tim the Beaver portrayed as a 1950s detective

Nov 21, 2019 

A puzzling unsolved mystery from MIT's summer 2018 police logs:

• Sunday, July 29.  Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, E18-[407].  Someone broke into a locked office, pried open a file cabinet, removed a key, used it to open a secured room inside that office, and stole four laptops.

Crimestoppers tips from our 2010 Bicycle Theft Prevention Workshop at EC courtyard:

wheel release lever secured with hose clamp   bicycle with theft-deterrent paint design "Trash up your shiny new bike frame.  Apply a flat base coat with aerosol paint; then splatter with fluorescent tempera....  Clamp quick-release levers with hose clamps and duct tape."

January 9, 2020. Club members are rumored to be passing information along to Radio Free Europe. Helpful background material: Mike Eckel, "US Investigating Universities, Including MIT, over Russian, Chinese Donations," Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, November 11, 2019.

"In 2015, Vekselberg was reelected as a trustee to MIT's board…. In April 2018, Vekselberg was quietly removed as a trustee, following the U.S. Treasury Department's decision to list him … among the Russian … 'oligarchs' … to be penalized for advancing Moscow's 'malign activities.'"

Which dorm won the club's 2008 Sparky the Fire Dog Award for Not Setting Off as Many Fire Alarms as Last Year?

September 2011.  City Council passes a resolution thanking the Campus Crimestoppers for making this campus and city a "safer and more welcoming environment for students."

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

The Harvard Crime Club was organized by students "looking to MIT's Crime Club as an example."

Xi Yu, "CSI: Harvard," Flyby (blog), Harvard Crimson, January 30, 2010.

In 2011, Entrepreneurship Center judges selected club president Thea Koullias '13 as a top-ten contestant in the Products and Services track of the $100K Elevator Pitch Contest, where she presented the club's idea for a stolen-property recovery service. She and three other Sloan students reworked it and submitted it to MGMT 15.390 (New Enterprises) as the Tornero Business Plan.

More at the Minutes of our IAP 2011 group meetings. Can some intrepid Sloanie take this project idea all the way to beta testing?

Club 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, November 1, 2005.

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

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

We gave up and designed our own device, an optoacoustic "sonic flashlight."  It's described in the venture principals' 2007 Venture Information Form.

Entrepreneurs Club director Richard Shyduroff invited our project team to serve as a study case for MGMT SEM 089, Starting Up New Technology-Based Business Enterprises at MIT.

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

April 2010:  Of Massachusetts’s twelve largest universitiess, MIT reports the highest theft rate.

University  |  Theft rate = (net value of property stolen) ÷ (10,000 degree-seeking students enrolled)

      MIT $ 306,000        
  Harvard $  156,000  
  Boston Univ. $    97,000  
  Northeastern $    71,000  
  UMass–Amherst      $    62,000  

"Uniform Crime Reporting Record Card," 2008 & 2009, Supplement to Return A Master File (2009 & 2010); CJIS_COMM,  email message to MIT Crime Club, 2011, app.

Update, June 2012.  MIT hires five additional patrol officers!

Stolen-property data for MIT, Harvard, and BU police jurisdictions, 2006–14.

In 2009 the club sent two P.I.s to investigate a murder scene at Harvard!  NBCUniversal mentions us in the credits for the "Brittany Smith and Jabrai Copney" episode of Snapped: Killer Couples

"A Harvard student and a chart-topping music producer's secret criminal life is exposed when a botched drug deal leads to murder…"

Brittany Smith & Jabrai Copney, at 43:22

For the authoritative version of that caper, see 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.

For the pulp version, see Jessica Fargen, "MIT Kids Send Spies to Harvard," Boston Herald, June 3, 2009.  " ‘It's about us giving them the ability to promote security without having to take the heat for it.  We take the heat,’ said 1987 MIT graduate James Herms."

The Crime Club was organized in 2004/05 by Margeaux Randolph '04, Adaora Asala '04, and Shavonne Nyoka Hylton '05 and recognized as an MIT Student Group in April 2005.

"The founders of the MIT Crime Club are dedicated to improving general safety for MIT students, both on and off campus."  Constitution (2005).

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