Somerville Police Department
220 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143
(In Union Square)

Emergency: Dial 9-1-1
Non-Emergency: 617-625-1600

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          

On Monday, April 21, 2014, during the early morning hours, a woman reported to the Somerville Police that she was the victim of an assault near the 300 block of Beacon Street. She had departed the Porter Square MBTA Station and was walking alone on Beacon Street when her attacker grabbed her from behind and made an attempt to force her into a nearby alley. The victim was able to scream and fend off her attacker. The victim described her attacker as a thin black male, in his 30’s, 6-00, clean shaven, and wearing dark clothing.  (A sketch artist's rendering given the victim's descriptions is posted below)

This incident is similar to an assault that was reported in Cambridge last week. On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, a woman reported to Cambridge Police that a man assaulted her after she too departed from the Porter Square MBTA Station and was walking home in Cambridge on Richdale Ave. Whether or not one suspect may be responsible for both incidents remains under investigation.

“Police will be diligent in their investigative efforts to identify, apprehend, and prosecute the individual who is responsible for this incident,” said Somerville Police Chief Charles Femino. “If anyone has any information or sees anything suspicious, we encourage you to report it immediately to Somerville Police.”

The Somerville Police would like to remind pedestrians of the following safety precautions, while reaffirming that no victim is ever to blame for the actions of an attacker. These measures promoted widely by crime prevention experts may simply help you reduce your risk of any type of crime from robbery to assault:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid wearing ear buds or headphones in both ears, especially while walking alone
  • If possible, avoid poorly lit or isolated areas
  • If you feel you are being followed, show you are suspicious by turning and looking directly at the person
  • If someone is following you, change your direction or cross the street and call 911 immediately
  • Try to remember descriptive information about the person you believe is following you to report to the police

Somerville Police detectives are actively investigating this incident. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact the Somerville Police CriminalInvestigationDivision at 617-625-1600, extension 7610.

If you are a victim of a past sexual assault that has or has not been reported to the police for any reason, the Somerville Police Department strongly encourages contacting the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) at the Cambridge office at 617.492.8306, at the 24-hour hotline 800.841.8371, by (TTY) 617.492.6434. Si usted habla español, porfavor llamenos al 800.223.5001 ó TTY 888.887.7130. If you want to learn more about the services BARCC has to offer victims of sexual violence you can visit their website at www.barcc.org.  

Contact:

Deputy Chief Cabral

 mcabral@police.somerville.ma.us

617-625-6600, ext. 7202

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Awareness Bulletin: Phone Scams

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Somerville PD Awareness Bulletin: Phone Scams

Recently, Somerville and other Massachusetts communities have seen an increase in phone scams, incidents where an anonymous caller may have seemingly private knowledge about a victim, their family or finances and use that knowledge to fraudulently obtain thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Below are a few warning signs that a caller is engaged in fraudulent behavior, and some steps you can take to protect yourself:

Scam Characteristics

  1. There are currently three common scams:
    1. “Back Payment”: The scammer pretends to work for a government agency, a utility, or a mortgage company and claims the victim has a past due balance. The scammer may threaten arrest, deportation or suspension of the victim’s license.
    2. “Grandson”: The scammer pretends to work for a police department or pretends to be a kidnapper and claims that the victim’s relative was arrested/in an accident/kidnapped and will not be bailed/freed unless the victim pays.
    3. “Winner”: The scammer pretends that the victim has just won a valuable item or large sum of money, but needs to provide account information or make a small initial payment (which may be thousands of dollars) before the winnings are sent.
  2. Scammers may use common fake names, fake badge numbers, fake e-mail accounts and fake phone numbers with the correct area code (even “spoofing” a number so that it appears legitimate on caller ID).
  3. Rather than using official channels, scammers request that you send funds by purchasing a pre-paid card (such as a Green Dot), wire funds through a service (such as Western Union) or transfer funds directly to a specific account.

Preventing or Responding to Scams

    • Do not give personal or financial information over the telephone to an unverified party.
    • Never make a payment in panic.
    • Back Payment Scam: Hang up, then directly contact the appropriate customer care or billing center to verify the issue.
    • The Grandson Scam: Hang up, then directly contact the appropriate relative to verify their status. If you have difficulty reaching that relative, consider directly contacting their local police department to check on their status.
    • Contact the Somerville Police immediately at our non-emergency line (617-625-1212). Be sure to record the scammer’s number and information and any requested payment details. 

 

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Official Police Chief Brochure Advertising the Open Position

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