MIT Crime Club

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MIT Crime Club
MIT Crime Club Logo low-res.png
Logo, showing MIT's beaver mascot wearing a 1950s detective outfit
Formation 2005 (2005)
Type Student organization
Purpose Improving general safety for MIT students[1]

The MIT Crime Club is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student group known for its promotion of high-technology products and services to address crime problems and for its unauthorized investigation of a murder in a Harvard dorm. It was established in 2005 to undertake campus-safety projects and raise awareness of crimes in the MIT area. It rebroadcasts police radio transmissions online, assembles police-log compilations, and constructs crime maps.[2]

In 2009 the club hired two private detectives to investigate the murder of a drug dealer in a Harvard residence hall. They were arrested and prosecuted;[3] the case was dismissed before trial.[4] The club later contributed to a Snapped: Killer Couples episode about the murder.[5]


The MIT Crime Club was established by two MIT students in 2005.[2] Students at both MIT and Harvard have joined the group.[3]

On June 2, 2009, a Boston Globe correspondent wrote that MIT's news office said MIT did not know of any crime club at the school.[6] In August, a staff writer at Boston magazine reported that the club was an MIT-authorized group with a membership of five MIT students and one or more graduates.[2]


The group compiles incident data from police logs,[7][8] constructs crime maps,[2] and rebroadcasts MIT, Harvard, and Cambridge police radio transmissions online.[9] Members have written weekly police-log compilations for MIT's newspaper, The Tech.[10]

In 2009 the group awarded an MIT dormitory a "Sparky the Fire Dog Award for Not Setting Off as Many Fire Alarms as Last Year".[2][11] In 2010 the group sponsored and hosted an MIT event, the MIT Security Workers Solidarity Gathering, where the patrol officers' union discussed upcoming negotiations.[12][13]

In September 2011 the Cambridge City Council adopted a resolution thanking the members for sponsoring bicycle theft-prevention workshops and so forth. "Club members have for six years furnished MIT students with technology and data of value in safeguarding their persons and property..."[14][15]


In 2006 a club member who had written police log compilations at the Tech was hired by the Cambridge Chronicle as its first "Police Log Compiler for MIT and Harvard".[16]

On May 30, 2009, the group hired a private-detective team to investigate security at Harvard University after a marijuana dealer was shot to death in a dormitory basement. The detective and his assistant were arrested by university police and prosecuted on charges of breaking and entering and trespass.[3][17] A Massachusetts District Court judge dismissed the case before trial, finding that the evidence offered by the prosecutors was legally insufficient to convict the defendants.[4][18]

PI Magazine, a trade journal, said of the ruling:

One apparent implication is that investigators may take photographs in residential common areas at universities without being subject to immediate arrest. Permission can be granted by an occupant of the residence hall floor. Investigators need not obtain permission of the owner.[4]

The club later contributed to a Killer Couples episode about the shooting.[5]

In January 2010, Harvard students "looking to MIT's Crime Club as an example" organized the Harvard College Crime Club;[19] the organization was recognized by the college's Office of Student Life.[20][21]


The group is funded in part by alumni contributions.[2] MIT's alumni association established an MIT Crime Club Fund to support its initiatives.[22]


  1. ^ "The MIT Crime Club Constitution" (PDF). 2005. Art. I. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-02-03. The founders of the MIT Crime Club are dedicated to improving general safety for MIT students, both on and off campus. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Schwartz, Jason (August 2009). "The Case of the Gumshoe Geeks: The curious MIT club that’s taken on a murder investigation as an afterschool project". Boston. p. 62. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-21. Ordinarily, the MIT Crime Club confines its efforts to checking police logs, collecting incident data, and constructing crime maps... The crime club ... currently includes five students (although MIT sanctions the group, it does not provide any funding). 
  3. ^ a b c Fargen, Jessica (June 3, 2009). "MIT Kids Send Spies to Harvard". Boston Herald. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-21. The MIT Crime Club hired the private eyes following the May 18 murder of Justin Cosby, 21, who police say dealt drugs to Harvard students... Most of the Crime Club's members are MIT students, although Harvard students have joined in the past. 
  4. ^ a b c "Charges Dismissed against Massachusetts PI". PI Magazine. Freehold, NJ: 20 (22). November–December 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-21. A judge has dismissed all charges against an investigator and his wife. 
  5. ^ a b Fischmann, Rudy (producer) (October 12, 2014). "Brittany Smith and Jabrai Copney". Snapped: Killer Couples. Season 4. Episode 2. 43:22 minutes in. Oxygen. Archived from the original on 2016-03-17. SPECIAL THANKS: Five-Oh Enterprises; MIT Crime Club 
  6. ^ Nierstedt, Jenna (June 2, 2009). "Trespassing Alleged at Dorm". Boston Globe. p. B7. Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. The MIT Crime Club retained one male and one female private investigator ... to investigate the May 18 homicide... Harvard University police found the two taking photos inside the dorm... An MIT spokeswoman said she knew of no school crime club. 
  7. ^ "25 Colleges with the Worst Crime Rankings". Daily Beast. N.Y.C. September 16, 2010. Item 5. An updated police log is maintained weekly by the school’s Crime Club. 
  8. ^ Levy, Marc (September 9, 2013). "Police Make Arrests in Suspicious August Fire, Multiple Stabbing". Cambridge Day. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. The MIT Crime Club log shows an earlier arrest... 
  9. ^ "Harvard & MIT police - Radio WIGGUM - MIT Crime Club scanner". SHOUTcast (Radio station: MP3). RadionomyGroup. 
  10. ^ Rafat, Marjan (February 10, 2006). "Police Log" (PDF). Tech. MIT. p. 17. Compiled by Marjan Rafat with assistance from other members of the MIT Crime Club. 
  11. ^ "Sparky the Fire Dog Award" (PDF). MIT Crime Club. 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-26. 
  12. ^ Tsai, Liz (April 13, 2010). "Unions and Students Hold 'Solidarity' Event: Upcoming Negotiations Discussed" (PDF). Tech. MIT. p. 1. Present at the meeting were representatives from the MIT Police Association... The event was sponsored and hosted by the MIT Crime Club... 
  13. ^ "MIT Security Workers Solidarity Gathering". MIT Events Calendar. April 9, 2010. Archived from the original on October 5, 2014. Speaker: City Councilors; MIT union leaders – patrol officers, custodians... Info session. Explore ways to help MIT and its service workers’ unions ... determine fair and competitive wages and benefits. 
  14. ^ "Cambridge City Council meeting: Agenda". Cambridge Civic Journal. September 26, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-10-21. Thanks to the MIT Crime Club for their achievements in making their campus and the City of Cambridge a safer and more welcoming environment. 
  15. ^ Cambridge, Mass., Res. 37 of Sept. 26, 2011.
  16. ^ Witlin, Dawn; Rafat, Marjan (September 14, 2006). "Crime Watch". Cambridge Chronicle. p. 5. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Compiled by Dawn Witlin and Marjan Rafat, police log compiler for MIT and Harvard. 
  17. ^ Convey, Eric (May 23, 2012). "Private Eye Who Probed Harvard Shooting Sues College". Boston Business Journal. 
  18. ^ Judgment of Dismissal, Commonwealth v. Cadillic, No. 09-52CR1267 (Mass. Dist. Ct. dismissed July 28, 2009) (“Motion to Dismiss is allowed.”).
  19. ^ Yu, Xi (January 30, 2010). "CSI: Harvard". Flyby Blog. Harvard Crimson. Looking to MIT's Crime Club as an example, Berryessa wants to organize a criminology interest club at Harvard... 
  20. ^ "Harvard College Crime Club". Office of Student Life. Harvard College. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. 
  21. ^ "HarvardCrimeClub Info". HCS Mailing Lists. Harvard Univ. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  22. ^ "Giving to MIT: MIT Crime Club Fund". MIT Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 2012-12-10. MIT Crime Club Fund (2721276). Gifts to support the club's public-safety initiatives.