Attempted theft spurs warnings

An attempted theft in Saybrook College on Monday prompted Dean Paul McKinley to send a college-wide e-mail requesting that students be more careful about locking their doors.

At approximately 2:15 p.m. Monday, members of the Yale Police Department responded to a report of an attempted theft in a Saybrook dorm room, YPD Lt. Ronnell Higgins said. A student had come back to his bedroom to find a “young man” putting a Nintendo game system inside a backpack, and when the intruding individual was confronted, he put the game system back and left the room, Higgins said.

In his e-mail, McKinley wrote that the room was burglarized “by someone who appeared to be a student.”

Higgins said there was no indication on the police report that the thief was a student and said he thinks the claim was an assumption McKinley made after police reported to the scene of the crime. The incident, is being actively investigated by the YPD, he said.

At a meeting last week in the Saybrook common room, McKinley and Master Mary Miller discussed issues of safety with about 40 students, covering topics such as awareness of suspicious behavior rather than suspicious people, the importance of locking doors and rooms and the need to be aware of the vulnerability of people who are under the influence of alcohol.

“We’re advising students to keep their rooms locked, to keep their keys with them at all times and to use their cell phones when they want to get into a friend’s room in another college,” Miller said. “It’s the basic kind of precaution you would practice if you lived in an apartment.”

Saybrook resident Daniel Fierro ’10 said the precautionary messages from his dean and master have had a limited effect on his safety habits.

“We don’t prop open our doors anymore, but beyond that I don’t think anything has really changed,” Fierro said.

Michael Dunn ’10, a Saybrook resident, said he has started closing the doors to his suite in response to the incident. McKinley and Miller have consistently warned Saybrook students about the dangers of leaving doors propped open, he said.

The attempted theft in Saybrook is the most recent incident in a string of burglaries on and around campus. According to the Yale Police Department’s crime logs, 76 burglaries and thefts have been reported to the YPD since Sept. 4. The YPD recorded 99 reported burglaries in all of 2006, 52 of which took place in residential buildings.

A recent survey conducted by the News showed that one in four Yale students who responded to the poll changed their safety habits in light of the recent thefts from residence halls.

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