Campus crime dropped by almost 16 percent in 2002, continuing a decade-long decline, data shows.
Total crime figures for 2002, released in January, indicate that a total of 366 crimes were reported in 2002 — a decrease from the 435 crimes reported in 2001, according to statistics from the Yale Police Department and the U.S. Department of Education.
Burglaries decreased from 65 in 2001 to 58 in 2002 and larcenies fell from 362 to 296. Auto thefts witnessed a slight increase from four to six, robberies increased from three to four, and forcible sex offenses remained constant with one reported rape, according to police records. Police said no murders were reported in 2002.
“Crime is about half now what it was 10 years ago,” Yale Police Lt. Michael Patten said. “The biggest areas of decline are burglaries and larcenies.”
Patten said the decrease in campus crime is a result of increased University investment in security measures, such as transportation programs including the minibus service and the 2-WALK program, partnerships with the New Haven Police Department, a community policing initiative, and overall campus security education.
Police also attributed the decrease in burglaries to an increase of security and crime awareness at construction sites around campus.
“Last year, there were a lot of construction thefts. They’d break into trailers,” Patten said.
Patten said police worked with construction crews to prevent burglaries from construction sites, and that this contributed to the decrease in burglaries witnessed in 2002.
Patten also cited a rise in the number of laptops reported stolen in 2002. According to police records, 51 laptops and personal digital assistants were reported stolen in 2002 — an increase from 39 such devices reported stolen in 2001.
“There are more laptops around and they are very easy to steal,” Patten said. “They’re valuable, transportable, and they’re easy to hide.”
Patten said that after laptops are stolen from students, they are usually sold on the street at very low prices or sold to pawn shops.
“We’ve found one disreputable pawn shop that was taking [stolen laptops],” Patten said. Patten would not identify the pawn shop but did say that it was not located in New Haven.
Patten cautioned students not to leave laptops unattended in campus libraries and said it takes a few seconds for a thief to disconnect the various wires connected to laptops and walk away with the stolen electronics.
“A lot of these are crimes of opportunity,” Patten said. “At some point, people have to take a little responsibility for their own security.”