In response to the recent spike in local crime, University administrators said they are implementing new measures to increase Yale’s security presence on and off campus.
The initiatives include the creation of four new walking police beats, a new Yale Police Department plainclothes street-crime unit, two bicycle security officers at off-campus parking lots, the installation of three new blue phones and a new interim police substation, University Secretary Linda Lorimer said. Other administrative efforts involve working with student groups to raise awareness about safety. While some students said they feel safer because of the new security measures, others said Yale could do more to address urban crime through positive community development.
Lorimer said officials have launched the initiative — the result of a joint commitment by several departments – in various stages during the past month. The programs reflect the high priority accorded to University security, she said.
“This is an institutional-wide response to what we see as a major priority, the safety and security of our community,” Lorimer said. “Obviously any single crime is one too many. We want to continue our attention on crime elimination.”
With the new walking beats, there will be a higher number of officers patrolling during late hours of the night — until 3 a.m., seven days a week — and the plainclothes street-crime unit will add two officers and a supervisor to areas where street crime has already occurred.
But Sylvia Bingham ’09 said a more visible police presence on campus will not increase her sense of safety. She said University resources might be better spent on New Haven’s economic development.
“It creates a sort of stressful environment to have police officers constantly visible,” Bingham said. “I think that there’s definitely a real present concern, but in the long term this crime spree is probably related to the economic problems that people in New Haven are having. I think it might be useful for Yale to use its resources on making New Haven a more hopeful place for people who are poor.”
Dave Denton ’07 said he thinks Yale is responding appropriately to crime by taking an active approach.
“I think it’s good that the University is not taking a laid-back attitude to this, but being very proactive in addressing the needs of its students,” Denton said. “I think it’s good in a larger sense that the University is being responsive to students.”
The YPD has been in close discussion with Lorimer about the increased security measures, Lt. Michael Patten said. The number of officers around campus has increased, Patten said, but he declined to provide the patrols’ locations and numbers.
“We don’t discuss specific numbers,” Patten said. “It’s not that we don’t want the public to know, we just don’t want the criminals to know how many cops we have in the area.”
The interim police substation has been set up at a previously vacant house owned by University Properties and located on Edgewood Avenue, where Yale is working to upgrade lighting installations.
Lorimer said a drop in crime this month has accompanied the new campus security measures.
“We have been pleased to see, with these new additions, a decline in crime in the past several weeks,” she said.
Plans are in place to install new blue phones on Prospect and Edgewood Avenues and on Temple Street.