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Boston police warn about uptick in robberies around Faneuil Hall

A couple walked through Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston.
A couple walked through Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/file

Boston police are warning the public that they have seen an increase in the number of robberies reported in the area around Faneuil Hall.

“We’ve had an uptick in incidents down there since May,” said Sergeant Detective John Boyle, spokesman for the Boston Police Department. He said at least seven robberies had been reported.

Boyle said the robberies have typically occurred late at night or in the early morning hours, after bars have closed.

“Some of the victims have been under the influence,” he said.

Men have been targeted, Boyle said, and they have had their wallets and phones stolen.

The robbers have been unarmed, “but there have been assaults,” he said.

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Although police have not made any arrests in those robberies, they did make an arrest Wednesday afternoon in the Back Bay when they responded to a robbery in progress in the area of 298 Marlborough St.

According to a posting on bpdnews.com, the victim told police she was approached from behind by a male suspect on a scooter who grabbed her wrist and snatched her cellphone. A short time later, officers recovered the victim’s cellphone from a teenage boy riding a scooter down Washington Street in Roslindale. The 15-year-old boy from Dorchester was arrested and charged with unarmed robbery, and was due to be arraigned in Boston Juvenile District Court, according to police.

Boyle said anyone with information about the Faneuil Hall robberies should contact detectives at 617-343-4248 or the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

Police are reminding the public to be careful, especially at night when they’re waiting for an Uber or Lyft to pick them up. “Don’t travel alone, and be aware of your surroundings,” said Boyle.

Boyle offered the following safety tips:

▪ When parking, walking or returning to your car, travel in well-lit, populated areas.

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▪ Wear sneakers or shoes that allow for added mobility.

▪ Be watchful and aware. Keep your head up. Make quick eye contact with those around you and be observant of passing vehicles.

▪ Don’t become distracted by talking on a cellphone or listening to an iPod or similar device.

▪ Keep a whistle handy so you can use it to signal for help. Yelling “Fire!” “Help!” or “Rape!” are ways of drawing attention and alerting people about your situation.

▪ Hold your car keys in your hand to use as a weapon against an attacker.

▪ Carry a cellphone and call ahead to your destination to alert people there that you’re on the way.

▪ Walk with confidence. Don’t let anyone violate your space. Trust your instincts.

▪ If an unarmed attacker confronts you, believe in your ability to defend, distract, or even incapacitate the attacker enough to escape.

▪ If you think someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or residence.

Globe correspondent Adam Sennott contributed to this report.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.