Several new blue phones are slotted to be installed in off-campus locations in response to the recent rise in violent crimes affecting students in these areas.
The University plans to place three new phones near the Yale Divinity School, Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said. The increase in blue phones is part of an effort on the part of the University to respond to the rise in muggings and crime committed by youths riding bikes, especially in off-campus areas heavily populated by students. Some of the hardest hit areas include Howe and Dwight streets and Edgewood Avenue, where many undergraduate students live, as well as the Prospect Street area around Science Hill, which is home to many graduate students.
“We’re also looking for an additional place to put a blue phone on Edgewood Avenue,” Highsmith said.
Edgewood Avenue currently has two blue phones.
Installing the phones is a costly and complex process, Highsmith said.
“Quite a bit of work goes into putting one in,” she said. “The phones are expensive and require running wires and lines.”
Highsmith said the University performs regular maintenance on the phones to ensure that they remain in working condition at all times. But, she said, students primarily use the blue phones to call numbers on campus in non-emergency situations.
“There are not a lot of people using them in emergency situations,” Highsmith said.
A student mugged on Lake Place on Aug. 28 who asked not to be identified said blue phones are not useful in crime situations.
“We’re not going to stop while being mugged and say ‘Oh, let me use the blue phone’,” the student said.
But Angelique Pillar ’07 said the phones can offer a sense of reassurance.
“When I’m walking back to Stiles from [Cross Campus Library] at 2 a.m., the neon blue lights give me some peace of mind,” Pillar said.
Yale Police Department Chief James Perrotti said his department is also devoting time and resources to better ensure student’s safety, by increasing patrols in affected areas and working with the New Haven Police Department to do the same.