NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Two recent assaults in close proximity have raised questions about when Rutgers University police decide to notify the public of violent crimes near the school's campuses.
On Friday morning, police radio transmissions described that a man was assaulted near the intersection of Hamilton and High Streets, the second assault on the same block in less than a week.
Based on the police radio transmissions, this incident sounded far more serious than the assault that occurred four nights earlier.
"Caller says there's a male lying there bleeding. He was just jumped," said a dispatcher at approximately 12:46am Friday.
When New Brunswick police officers arrived, they asked for an ambulance to hurry to the scene and said over the radio that the victim had sufferred a "laceration in the head," and was bleeding from his right eye.
Yet the Rutgers University Police Department did not issue a crime alert for that incident, like they had for an assault that occurred four nights earlier near the same corner.
In that incident, police notified the campus' 30,000 students and others who subscribe to the RUPD's Nixle alert system that a victim had been assaulted and his pockets searched after he confronted three men who may have been following him.
"The victim reported being struck on the arm with an unknown object during the course of the assault and received treatment for a minor injury," read the crime alert issued 20 hours later.
Three perpetrators were described as black males in the first incident. According to police radio transmissions, the description of the assailants in the second incident were four Asian males.
Both Rutgers' and New Brunswick's police departments and a spokeperson for City Hall did not respond to multiple requests for information about the second attack, and inquiries about the lack of a crime alert.
After the tragic murder of a Kean University student in the same neighoborhood seven months ago, Rutgers announced an expansion of campus alerts to include crimes that occur in neighborhoods that are dominated by students, but not technically on campus property.
Rutgers, which has its main campus in New Brunswick, was embarrassed after this newspaper and other critics pointed out that Kean University alerted all of its students to the crime and requested their help in solving it.
But Rutgers, just a few blocks from the brutal crime scene, took several weeks to acknowledge the murder publically.
Then came the March 13 announcement of the new policy for crime alerts: "All students, faculty, and staff on the New Brunswick Campus will be notified of serious crimes against persons that occur… anywhere in the fifth and sixth wards of the City of New Brunswick."
A spokesperson for the University agreed to look into the matter and get back to New Brunswick Today.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.