Sunday, June 16, 2024

Pedestrians cross through traffic on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge's Harvard Square on Nov. 1, 2005. This stretch of road has been a frustration to drivers and a danger to pedestrians who ignore signals to cross when convenient. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

Pedestrians cross through traffic on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge's Harvard Square on Nov. 1, 2005. This stretch of road has been a frustration to drivers and a danger to pedestrians who ignore signals to cross when convenient. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

The number of hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents has tied the number of Halloween vandalism incidents this spook season.

Since Oct. 23, police have responded to 17 incidents in which a driver struck another car or a pedestrian and fled the scene. There were only 14 acts of malicious mischief recorded during that same time period, according to police reports late Halloween, but three more were reported before midnight Nov. 1, tying the number of hit-and-runs and vandalism incidents at 17.

A visitor from Norwood was crossing Eliot Street near Bennett Street when she was knocked to the ground by a female hit-and-run driver on Halloween, police said. In classic Cambridge style, the driver got out, helped the victim to her feet and chastised her.

“You jumped right out in front of me,” the driver was quoted as saying in the police report.

She left and the victim sought medical treatment, police said. The hit-and-run good Samaritan is still at large.

Other recent hit-and-runs are more traditional: That of a Marlborough woman driving on Brattle Street at 8:50 p.m., Oct. 29, for instance, hit by another car and relatively unscathed, but unable to get the license plate; in another, a local woman told police she was rear-ended by a green Mercury Mountaineer while stopped at a light at Garden Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The driver of the Mountaineer was described as a 30-something white female with blonde hair. She refused to exchange paperwork with the victim and left the scene, police said.

In another car vs. pedestrian accident, the driver did what one is supposed to do: stopped and called for help. Police said the victim could not remember the accident. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treatment. No charges were filed.

In September, city councilors reviewed an engineering report by the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department on pedestrian crash information that “indicates that the number of crashes is not too high given the city’s population, density and high percentage of people who walk to work.”

In other police news:

— Police have connected two road rage incidents, in which violence, albeit minor, resulted after a person’s side-door mirror was bopped by a pedestrian.

In the most recent case, which involved what police described as “assault with a dangerous weapon,” a man was confronted by two suspects at 55 Broadway. One of the suspects slapped the driver-side mirror of the man’s car, and when he got out and asked why, one of the suspects threw coffee in his face. Must have been dangerously bad coffee.

There was an earlier incident involving these people at the same address, police said.

— A woman heard a “popping” sound outside the window of her Pilgrim Street home on Oct. 26, looked out her window and saw a man apparently breaking into her car. The woman had someone willing to run outside and defend her property, though. Her boyfriend chased the suspect, who got on a bicycle to try to get away with the woman’s purse, finally giving up and tossed it back somewhere on Sidney Street. Chalk one up for the boyfriend.

Police indicated they were impressed, calling the boyfriend’s behavior “newsworthy.” The suspect was described as a white male in his 30s with a slim build. He was wearing a burgundy plaid shirt.

— On Oct. 27 a woman from Belmont was at T.J. Maxx when she recognized a man against whom she’d filed a restraining order two years ago. The woman called police, who said her complaint was that “he looked at her.”

— In a city where violence is not the norm, it seems almost fitting that if there is to be a bank robbery it be an “unarmed robbery” — not there haven’t been a string of the more traditional type, with weapons involved.

On Oct. 28, police charged Christian Ramon, aka Obie Graham, 27, of Boston, and Charlie Wilson, 20, of Dorchester, with “unarmed robbery,” after a recent incident in which one of the men passed a threatening note to a teller demanding money, said David J. Degou, Cambridge’s police operations division superintendent.