Though summer students at Yale were hit with a string of street robberies and room thefts, Yale and city officials said the level of crime around campus this summer was comparable with the same period in 2006.
Major incidents in the last few months included a series of thefts from Morse College rooms, thefts of computers from the Yale College Dean’s Office, and approximately 10 street robberies targeting Yale students and affiliates.
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“Comparing the summer of 2006 to ’07, the [Uniform Crime Report] pretty much was close in comparison to the previous summer [and] we didn’t see an increase in any type of crime this summer to last summer,” Yale Police Department Sgt. Steven Woznyk said. “Old Campus was the main problem with property loss in 2006, and this summer it seemed to shift over to Morse.”
Students generally said they were pleased with police and security efforts over the summer, though some said they were more nervous about the possibility of crimes than they are during the school year.
Woznyk said the room thefts decreased after the YPD arrested two men connected to burglaries in Morse and Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.
In Morse, the YPD increased the presence of uniformed and plain-clothed officers in the courtyard and changed the entryway locks of the college. Donald Orange, 26, was later arrested in connection with the thefts.
Though Woznyk said investigators have been able to link Orange with only a few of the thefts, participants in Yale Summer Session, many of whom were staying in Morse, said the room theft problem stopped after the arrest.
Yale Summer Session residential counselors said they noticed that the YPD increased its presence around Morse, where many of the program’s participants were staying, once it became clear that the thefts were a problem.
“For two or three days it was kind of hectic,” YSS counselor Esteban Tapetillo ’09 said. “After we caught the criminal it definitely became better and no more robberies were reported, so we definitely ended the summer on a good note.”
YPD patrol officers also arrested 35-year-old Steffon Miller after he was caught stealing from SSS. Woznyk said detectives also arrested Miller for several other property thefts in the area.
But the investigation remain open in the case of two University computers — containing Social Security numbers of 10,000 former and current students — stolen on July 17 from the Yale College Dean’s Office in SSS.
Although members of the Yale community received an increased number of e-mail alerts about street crimes from YPD Chief James Perotti, Woznyk said there was no actual increase in the number of street crimes this summer.
Perrotti’s e-mails — which typically began, “Consistent with federal reporting requirements and in order to increase awareness about security matters” — addressed a number of robberies that took place both near the residential colleges and farther off campus.
Some students said they were more aware of the possibility of crimes because fewer people were around campus during the summer compared to the school year, so they were more likely to avoid walking places alone.
Daniel Vicco, a YSS participant who was robbed when walking alone near Bulldog Burrito during his second-to-last weekend in the program, said he was robbed of $4 before the robber, who threatened to shoot him, walked away upon noticing police officers nearby.
“The two cops [nearby] couldn’t catch him because he got away, but he then robbed someone else and he was arrested the next day,” Vicco said. “In this case it was clear who did it and the guy was caught the next day, so the story kind of ends on a happy note.”