Campus Safety Information and Holiday Wishes
To the Yale Community,
It has become a tradition for me to write as the fall semester comes to a close to provide a few tips for keeping safe, whether you are travelling or remaining on campus during the winter recess period. This year, several troubling street crimes have taken place on campus recently, so I am also writing to provide an update on how Yale is responding to, and will continue to work aggressively to deter, these kinds of incidents.
When preparing for the winter recess, please take extra care to safeguard your property. Secure your computer and electronic devices. Lock your room or office (and your windows) when you leave.
It’s important to take precautions with your personal safety, as well. Here on campus, fewer people may be walking around during the recess, so be mindful of that. Anywhere you go, be aware of your surroundings at all times, travel in well-lit and populated areas—and walk with others whenever possible. Don’t display cash or electronic devices on the street, or text or talk on the phone while walking. You should also avoid walking with ear buds, because listening to music or any other distraction tends to isolate you from your environment. Finally, trust your instincts. If you feel in danger, or see any suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to seek help. On campus, call the Yale Police at (203) 432-4400.
Security escorts will continue over the recess period, and you may call (203) 785-5555 for a security escort anywhere on campus. The shuttle and door-to-door safe rides at night will also continue over the winter recess, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (December 24 and 25), and New Year’s Eve and Day (December 31 and January 1). Be sure to check the shuttle website for holiday schedules and routes: www.yale.edu/shuttle. For more information on all the safety services available to you, visit www.yale.edu/publicsafety.
I know that of particular concern to many of you are recent instances where juvenile offenders have worked in groups to rob or harass pedestrians. Earlier this week, I sent you a message about two assaults that took place on Wall Street early Monday evening. Two students, in separate incidents, were struck by a group of juvenile offenders. While these incidents thankfully did not result in injury to either victim, they are no less troubling, especially given that they took place in the very heart of our campus.
I want to assure you that my top priority is addressing these incidents and keeping the Yale campus safe.
Following Monday’s events, I spoke personally with New Haven Police Department Chief Dean Esserman, and the Yale and New Haven police will continue to work closely together. We are taking concrete prevention measures on campus: we have increased police patrols and added additional security officers, on foot and on bikes, focusing on behaviors that precede these types of incidents. We have had recent success identifying, confronting and disrupting the activities of individuals and groups who exhibit suspicious behavior, and a number of arrests have already been made.
I would also like to provide some additional context for the “Message from the Chief” communication that you received on Monday (and others that you receive from me throughout the year). Under the provisions of the Clery Act, Yale is required by federal law to share information with the campus community for certain crimes reported to us that occur within the campus area and that are considered to represent an ongoing or serious threat to the campus. “Ongoing threat” may mean that a criminal situation is active, or it may mean that no arrests have been made. When we determine that a message must go out, we provide a description of the incident, the time and place the incident occurred, and safety information. I understand that sending out this information may, in and of itself, generate concern, but we are committed both to fulfilling our legal obligations and to keeping the campus well informed.
I also want to emphasize that, as distressing as Monday’s incidents are, crime on the Yale campus is actually down this year: to date in 2012, we have recorded 281 crimes, compared to 304 crimes for the same period last year, and the majority of crimes we see are thefts, with bicycles and portable electronic devices being the biggest targets. There is certainly crime in New Haven, as there is in any urban setting, but even in New Haven as a whole, crime continues to trend down, including, importantly, violent crime. I relate these statistics not to diminish any concern that these recent incidents have caused, but to reassure you that the overall outlook is improving. My colleagues in YPD, NHPD and Yale Security intend to remain vigilant. Our goal – as always – is a safe Yale campus.
In keeping with that goal, on behalf of the women and men of Yale University Police, I wish you a happy, healthy, and, most of all, safe holiday season.