A Yale graduate student was robbed Sunday night at gunpoint on Wall Street between Temple and Church Streets in the latest of a spate of crimes to hit the Elm City.
The robbery, which occurred at approximately 8:20 p.m., involved two youths, about 15 and 18 years old, who approached a male graduate student, pointed a gun and demanded money, Yale Police Department Chief James Perrotti said. The student, whose name has not been released, told police he gave the robbers money and escaped unharmed, Perrotti said.
Since the beginning of the school year, there have been five reported robberies of Yale students, several of which have been at gunpoint.
Police said many of the details surrounding the robberies remain unknown. Although no suspects have been named, Perrotti said one of the robbers was reportedly wearing a face mask at the time of the incident.
New Haven Police Department spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester could not be reached for comment.
This is not the first time a robbery has occurred in the area. Tristan Taylor GRD ’09 was robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 23 early in the evening near the intersection of Wall and Temple.
Both robberies have occurred relatively early in the night under similar circumstances, Yale’s Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said.
“On both nights, there were some large underage parties at downtown New Haven bars,” Highsmith said.
On Sunday night, a party, which was attended primarily by teenagers, was held at Image Nightclub on Crown Street, Perrotti said.
Highsmith said she thinks the proximity of the parties to campus played a significant role in the locations of the crimes. The parties targeted individuals who were the same age as the robbers, she said.
The YPD has increased patrols in areas that have been hit the hardest by the crime wave. Perrotti said his department is taking steps to increase campus security.
“The Yale Police are continuing their stepped-up patrols; we have increased our foot patrols in the Wall and Temple area,” Perrotti wrote in an e-mail Monday to the Yale community.
But Ward 1 Alderman candidate Nick Shalek ’01 thinks Yale should do more to protect its students. In an e-mail sent to the Yale community last night, Shalek urged students to sign a letter to Yale President Richard Levin calling for more long-term solutions to the problem in addition to short-term measures to protect students, such as additional blue phones and improved lighting.
Despite the new security measures, many students said they are concerned for their safety because the recent robberies have taken place early in the evening and close to the center of campus.
The latest incidents highlight the importance of taking extra security measures as soon as it begins to get dark, Highsmith said.
“A lot of students don’t want to use services like 2-WALK or the minibus because they take longer,” she said. “We encourage students who have made that choice not to walk alone.”
Many students who live in the area around Wall and Temple Streets said they would be more likely to use the 2-WALK service because of the recent robberies.
Elizabeth Gerber ’06, who lives in Timothy Dwight College, the college closest to Sunday’s robbery, said she will now use 2-WALK more frequently but will probably use her cell phone to dial the police rather than the blue phones in the area.
But Highsmith said blue phones are an important part of campus safety and Yale security is currently working to install more around campus.
“The blue phones are not preventative, but they do allow someone in difficulty to get to the Yale Police in seconds and that can never be a bad thing,” she said.
In spite of the recent upswing in crime, Gerber said she refuses to allow her fears to significantly impact the way she lives her daily life.
“I have to walk home every night through that area,” she said. “It’s a part of my home.”