NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police are investigating an aggravated assault that was reported to have occurred in the early morning hours of March 8, according to a Rutgers University crime alert.
New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD), the lead agency in the case, did not publicize the incident, which only came to light due to the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD).
The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 12:45 AM on College Avenue between Somerset and Hamilton Streets, about 16 hours prior to the alert being sent to the university community.
"In this incident, [a Rutgers-affiliated] individual reported that he was assaulted following a verbal dispute outside of a residence located on College Avenue," reads the alert.
The only residence on that block is 18 College Avenue, a fraternity house that has been the scene of several violent crimes in recent years.
"Descriptions of the perpetrator are limited at this time," reads the statement, which notes that the victim "sustained non-life threatening injuries and sought medical treatment at a local area hospital."
It marks just the second such crime alert issued by the university in relation to its massive New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, where tens of thousands of students come to learn each year.
Because the incident occurred in the Sixth Ward of New Brunswick, home to the school's flagship campus, RUPD issued the alert even though NBPD is investigating the case.
In March 2014, the school pledged to expand its crime alerts to include all "serious crimes" that take place in the Fifth or Sixth Wards of New Brunswick.
However, as we've reported previously, the school does not always issue alerts when serious crimes are reported. The public soon learned that a "simple assault" does not meet the school's definition of a serious crime, while an "aggravated assault" does.
However, the school's daily crime log lists an open investigation into an alleged aggravated assault on Union Street, one that occurred between March 4 and March 6. No alert was issued in this case.
By way of the RUPD's crime alert, the NBPD asks that anyone with information, or who may have been in the area at the time of the March 8 assault, to contact the their Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.
While NBPD did not take any measures to publicize either incident, the RUPD took the opportunity to remind its students, staff and faculty to "reduce your chances of being a victim of crime by taking reasonable precautions," including:
- Immediately reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement;
- Remaining alert and aware of the people and circumstances around you;
- Avoid isolated or dark areas;
- Walking in groups when traveling during late night hours
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.