by Anneli Rufus
The type of criminal behavior known as rat-packing numerous robber-assailants jumping a lone victim all at once, which plagued the streets surrounding UC Berkeley for a few scary years in the mid-'80s is apparently back with a vengeance, all over the place.
A man had just left Rockridge BART and was walking on Shafter Avenue around 4 p.m. on April 16 when he "was jumped from behind" and "assaulted by 4 African American male teens seemingly around the age of 15," according to a Rockridger posting on a neighborhood-watch site. "They ... knocked him down, kicked him and told him to empty his pockets. ... Two neighbors heard the assault and came out and the teens fled." Sporting "an abrasion on his head" and "torn pants," the victim "was clearly and understandably shaken up. The police were called and arrived to take a report but arrived way too late to catch the kids."
The resident adds that on April 21, "the 4 ... returned, AGAIN around 4PM, and appear to be targeting one of the neighbors who made the report the other day. He left his home and the 4 teens crossed Shafter and followed him until he knocked on a neighbor's door at the corner of Shafter and Forest to get away from them. I was told that the teens stood outside the home for 1/2 hour and then left. Unfortunately, again the police did not arrive."
Another Rockridger reported a similar crime occurring on Clifton Street, also on April 16, around 10 p.m.: "Our tenant was, unfortunately, mugged. ... There were several young men (older teens?) who approached her as she left her car, grabbing her and trying to get her backpack. They were apparently armed. She managed to keep hold of her bag, yelling to our other tenant, who eventually came down and scared them off. She made a police report, but wasn't able to identify her attackers."
According to a UCPD release, a UC Berkeley student was rat-packed at 2 p.m. on April 21: "An off-duty officer was driving eastbound on 2200 block of Durant, near the Tang Center, when he noticed an altercation involving a group of 4 juveniles circling an individual who was lying on the ground. The officer exited the car and identified himself as a police officer. The four suspects immediately fled westbound on Durant and then northbound on Fulton Street." The student said he had been "walking eastbound on Durant when the four suspects" described as African-American males aged between fifteen and seventeen "approached him, knocked him to the ground, and tried to take his backpack."