Crime spike prompts patrol increases

With less than two weeks left in the academic year, the Yale Police Department is increasing patrols in local neighborhoods following a new spate of muggings reminiscent of the fall semester’s spike in crime.

Two students have been mugged at gunpoint in the past two weeks in the Park-Howe-Dwight neighborhood, YPD Chief Perotti said in an e-mail to students Friday. Perotti said the two thefts both involved a handgun, and occurred on April 17 at 9:53 a.m. and April 26 at 10:45 a.m. at 100 Howe Street and 65 Edgewood Avenue respectively. University officials said no arrests have been made, but the YPD and NHPD are working together to see if the two incidents are linked.

“One of the things that is unique is the time of day that they occurred,” Perotti said. “We had not had any [thefts] in that time period [and] we’re still investigating to see if there are any similarities in the two incidents.”

In response to the thefts, the YPD has expanded the hours of walking patrols in the area. A YPD officer will be deployed to Howe and Edgewood streets nearly 24 hours a day, beginning every morning at 8 a.m.

University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said she hopes the incidents do not turn into a pattern.

“When the weather gets warmer, we do tend to see some increase in [street] crime,” she said. “Our quick response is intended to stop whatever pattern might have been developing.”

The robberies are the first involving Yale students to have taken place since late January, when four thefts were reported in the same week. But students living in the neighborhood said they continue to feel safe in the area, despite the two recent incidents.

“I feel extremely safe walking around here,” Matthew Barry ’07, who lives on Edgewood Street, said. “I feel the two crimes are an anomaly.”

David Chernicoff ’07, who lives on Edgewood Avenue, said he thinks safety has increased in the last year, after the YPD increased patrols in response to last semester’s spike in crime.

“I have felt more safe since the first round of increased patrols that occurred at the start of this year,” Chernicoff said.

Perotti said the YPD and NHPD, in cooperation with the Chapel West business district and local residents, are looking to improve lighting and infrastructure in the area.

“We’re putting a lot of effort and resources into this,” he said. “We certainly don’t want this happening again.”

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