Daily Dose of Great Police Work: Officers Nab Purse Snatcher in Allston


At about 2:00 AM on Friday, September 4, 2015, officers from District D-14 (Brighton) responded to a radio call for an armed robbery in the area of 6 Radcliffe Road, Allston.

While en route to the scene, officers learned from the 911 dispatcher that the suspect was described as a black male with long dread locks wearing a black or white shirt. Officers observed a suspect fitting that description carrying a purse in front of 236 Brighton Avenue. As officers passed this individual in their cruiser, the male switched the purse from his right hand to his left side as if attempting to conceal it. Officers followed the suspect and were able to stop him on Barrows Street, where they observed he was sweating profusely, out of breath, and no longer had possession of the purse. Officers retraced the suspect’s path and located the purse in an alley next to 248 Brighton Avenue.

Through further investigation, officers learned that the suspect had grabbed the female victim, stated he had a knife, then took her purse and fled. The suspect was positively identified, and officers arrested 47-year-old Carl Smith of Boston. He was charged with Armed Robbery and will be arraigned at Brighton District Court.

The Boston Police Department reminds returning college students and the general public to always be aware of your surroundings. Please read the following for a few ideas for ensuring your safety while out and about.


  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. When parking, walking or returning to your car, remain in well-lit and populated areas.
  • Avoid walking alone late at night. When possible, walk with friends and people you know.
  • 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 cell phone or listening to an iPod/similar device.
  • Keep a whistle within reach. If you feel threatened, use it to signal residents that you need help. Yelling words like: “Fire!” “Help!” or “Rape!” are other effective ways of drawing attention and alerting people that you need assistance.
  • Hold your car keys in your hand to use as a weapon against an attacker.
  • Before going out, call ahead to let friends or family know you’re on the way. Designate a time you expect to arrive, so that in the event you fail to show up on time, they’ll know enough to begin looking for you.
  • Walk with confidence. Be assertive. Don’t let anyone violate your space. Trust your instincts and know that anyone at any time can be a victim of crime. Never assume: “IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME.”
  • If an unarmed attacker confronts you, believe in your ability to scare, distract, or even incapacitate the attacker enough to escape.
  • Wear sneakers or shoes that allow for added mobility.