Police step up patrols after several women robbed walking home from Red Line MBTA stations

Boston and MBTA Transit Police are stepping up patrols after several women were robbed while walking home from MBTA Red Line stations in Dorchester, Boston police said.

The women were robbed after leaving the JFK/UMass, Savin Hill, Shawmut, and Ashmont stations, Boston police said in a statement.

The incidents happened between 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., police said.

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Boston police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said there have been seven robberies in this string of incidents.

In some of the robberies, the man showed a handgun, police said.

The suspect is described as a black male with a thin build, age 20 to 30, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, police said. The man has engaged victims in a brief conversation before demanding money.

Transit Police Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor said Transit Police are working with Boston police to help identify the suspect.

“There is no video evidence these women were getting followed out of the station,” O’Connor said. “We are aware of the robberies in the neighborhoods and we have stepped up patrols at MBTA stations and on trains to reassure passengers.”

O’Connor said these assaults “create fear among females walking from the stations and we are doing everything we can to reassure them it is safe.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Boston police at 617-343-4335. Anonymous tips can be given by calling 800-494-TIPS or texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

In one case, A University of Massachusetts student was assaulted last week as she walked toward the Sydney Street entrance of the JFK/UMass station.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case said the woman was grabbed from behind by a white male, who pushed her up against a chain-link fence, then grabbed her chest and crotch.

The attacker was described as a man in his mid-20s, about 5-foot-10, with a heavy build and a scruffy brown beard. At the time, he was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, light-colored jeans, and sneakers, Transit Police said.

Boston police said people should avoid walking alone late at night, travel in well-lit populated areas, and wear sneakers or shoes that allow for added mobility.

Police also advised walkers to call ahead to their destination, hold car keys to use as a weapon against an attacker, and keep a whistle within reach.