Letter: Yale’s neglected victimized students

The news about Annie Le MED ’13 brought back terror for me. My daughter, a grad student at Yale, was mugged at knife-point by a masked man outside her apartment building at 8 p.m. on a November evening in 2004. She was less than 15 feet from the front door of her double security locked building. She was aware of her surroundings. She did not take risks. Her purse, cellphone and change were taken. The scars of the event are still with her.

She and we (her parents) immediately contacted New Haven Police, who did nothing. I called my daughter’s cell phone, talked to the man who mugged her and gave the police his name. Still they did nothing. My daughter has spent a lot of time in counseling to deal with the trauma associated with that event.

Each August, I think of the many parents who are taking their children to Yale to leave them in a strange city with high hopes of success and accomplishment. I have often hoped that Yale’s staff and faculty would invite parents or students who have been mugged or assaulted on the streets of New Haven to speak to the new students and parents. Despite our complaints to the police department, letters to the News and contact with Yale, we never received an acknowledgment of this event and the trauma it caused.

I am so sorry for the loss that Annie Le’s family has suffered and will suffer forever. The law enforcement community seems to have gotten on this situation quickly. But that has not always been the case. Something should be done about the lack of security or the lack of police follow-up when things happen. Please know that the Le family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Bernadetter Durkin

Leesburg, Va.

Sept. 14

Comments

  • Yalie for the Second Amendment

    It is the right and responsibility for every human being to defend themselves against predatory attacks.

    It is a shame that, like most major universities, Yale policy disarms those members of the University community most likely to be victimized: graduate students. Undergraduates generally have the security of campus to dwell within, and most staff either leave campus before the evening, or at least can quickly abscond in a vehicle.

    Most graduate students, however, live outside the security umbrella of the campus, but within the dangerous confines of New Haven. These students are also those with the age and maturity to qualify for Pistol Permits issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety.

    Were the University to authorize those students and staff with Pistol Permits (which require strict background checks, training, and a proficiency test) to carry (but not store) their lawful arms on campus, perhaps events such as the one described by Mrs. Durkin, and the more recent tragic murder, could have been avoided.

    I am happy to say that I waa never victimized on Yale’s campus or in New Haven, but I would have felt much more secure if I had been afforded the opportunity to carry a defensive sidearm on those late nights and long walks away from the heart of campus.

  • ’09

    Agreed. It’s one thing to realize that Yale’s not safe, but another to realize that Yale’s deans and policemen don’t exactly lavish care on those who are mugged or victimized in any other way.

  • 0Y8

    The NHPD do nothing… that is a fact. I was robbed at gunpoint my freshman year on a Saturday night and when I called the police, I got an answering machine that said “The Robbery and Burglary Department is only open Monday-Friday”

  • postdoc

    The idea of students carrying guns ¨just in case¨ is a really bad idea.
    On the other hand, would you blame the closest University if somebody gets mugged in New York? New Haven is a small city, with all the pros and cons that this implies. I think that the mistake most people do is to assume that because it is Yale and a small city, that it´s a bubble students are going to be safe in. And that it is definitely not true.
    Best,

  • NYC resident

    I agree with postdoc. NYU and Columbia students were recently mugged and killed in Harlem, right near Columbia. Nobody called the universities to complain.

    If you really want to be safe, move to a dense urban neighborhood and don’t drive anywhere. Traffic crashes kill 2000-4000 university students a year whereas campus homicides kill about 20.

    Also, you need to get real. The police are not going to get back to you about every purse snatching in the world. In NY, a recent college graduate was shot and killed in a mugging right in front of my building. Nobody ever interviewed us and the robber was not even found. A life was tragically cut short, but the people living in my building didn’t even know it had happened, weeks later! Certainly nobody at my workplace ever mentioned it, even though it was a distressing thing to me.

    It’s great that at Yale, people care about each other and all 20,000 of them hear about everything that happens, even the most minor purse snatching, through email and word of mouth — but it doesn’t mean that you can expect to be babied by the police too.

  • for the gun nut

    So, instead of a mugging, if the girl had been armed she could have shot and possibly killed the mugger, or been shot or possibly killed herself? Not much of an improvement there.

    I am surprised that this article about a Yale Psych resident who threatened people at a State St bar and was found to have an arsenal of illegal assault weapons hasn’t been reported on in the YDN yet. They did get the ex-employee who came back to his old office to threaten or kill people….. yes yes, more guns is the solution!

  • article on the one man militia
  • Rachael09

    I have never seen the biggest lack of any information on a murder case in my life! Only today do we find she was strangled?! Hello? Does this take a special CSI investigation to take this long to tell us she was choked too death? Hello?! A secured area with over seventy video cameras and its going to take what another week to find the person who murdered her? I guess CSI Connecticut or CSI Yale won’t be coming to any T V program soon if ever! The police and the FBI best not screw this up any more then they have!

  • Rachael 09

    I have never seen the biggest lack of any information on a murder case in my life! Only today do we find she was strangled?! Hello? Does this take a special CSI investigation to take this long to tell us she was choked too death? Hello?! A secured area with over seventy video cameras and its going to take what another week to find the person who murdered her? I guess CSI Connecticut or CSI Yale won’t be coming to any T V program soon if ever! The police and the FBI best not screw this up any more then they have!

  • stephanie

    More important than stats is, “How do people feel when they visit the campus?”

    Examples of what they observe: vehicles constantly running reds, vehicles speeding at 50 miles per hour down Elm Street, no pedestrian infrastructure, no bicycle infrastructure, no crosswalks, no crosswalk signals in many areas. That makes people feel unsafe much more than witnessing any arguments in the hospital. The situation is completely insane.

    Yale should invest in these things to improve the basic feel and safety of campus, otherwise people will continue to avoid it. Also, more pleasant streets will encourage walkers and cyclists, which means a lot more eyes on the street so to speak , to prevent crimes.

  • Also a parent

    I am so sorry to hear of the traumatic event that happened to your daughter. I am shocked to hear of the lack of appropriate response by the authorities. Without intelligent and prompt response, crime and the threat thereof continues undaunted. Proper procedure (as opposed to silence and lack of follow through) would not only enhance the security felt by the current students and their families, but also would be appreciated and appropriately considered and noted by alumni and prospective students/families thereof as well.

  • Pffff!

    Hey Yalies,
    Everytime someone gets mugged Chief Police Perrotti sends an email to the whole community, pressing people to use common sense (not walking alone in “hot” areas, and USING THE ESCORT service. I use it every day in the winter when it’s dark at 5pm to go to my car in a nearby parking lot.
    Don’t say Yale does nothing. They can’t stop everything, but they really try to reduce the risk for those who don’t like it.

    Copied from the Yale Security website:

    Escort Service
    Escorts 203-785-5555, 203 432-9255, or 2-WALK (2-9255): University Security operates a security escort service on campus for any member of the University community who requires an escort. The escort service will provide you with a walking escort to or from any location within a reasonable walking distance on the campus, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A Uniformed Yale Security Officer will be dispatched to your location and escort you to your final on-campus destination. It is advisable to request the escort approximately 15 minutes prior to the intended departure time.

  • grad student

    Been a grad student at Yale for 5 years. A few years back a friendly neighborhood youth tried to liberate my cash. He decided the better of it when I pulled out my knife. Every situation differs and needs to be handled differently, but in this case being armed was a great help. It isn’t for everyone, but we should encourage those are comfortable defending themselves.

  • med staff

    There aren’t 70 cameras in the building, theres approximately 70 on the Med School campus. Amsitad itself has around 12, and none in the animal care areas. Who keep’s posting this stuff when it’s just plain wrong?

  • Chaz

    Poster #1, I recently completed a graduate degree at Yale, and I have to admit that I carried the last two years of my degree. I often had to stay late on campus and then return home to East Rock in the middle of the night. With all the creepy stuff going on in New Haven, it was the only way I felt safe.

  • old faculty

    Some years ago, one of my graduate students wanted to carry his handgun “for protection” and “to plink varmits” (as he did back home in Wyoming). He applied and eventually was granted a license for his six-shooter. He carried it around New Haven in a brown paper bag. I tried to discourage this, but he was adamant about self protection, and in his mandatory interview with the chief of police, the chief begged him not to bring his gun to New Haven, because it would soon be stolen and then there would be one more illegal gun on the streets of the city… Sure enough, one night his apartment was burglarized, and instead of being used to protect himself, the student’s gun was stolen and later was found to have been used in a holdup. So much for the “armed citizen” as a deterrent to crime.

    For my part, I think it would be a hard call to kill someone over five dollars in my wallet.

  • Yalie for the Second Amendment

    for the gun nut wrote:

    “So, instead of a mugging, if the girl had been armed she could have shot and possibly killed the mugger, or been shot or possibly killed herself? Not much of an improvement there.”

    Ok, ignoring your ad hominem “name” selection, let’s look at your fallacious argument. There is a lot of “could” in there. Could you be struck by a meteor tomorrow? Could many things happen? Yes.

    However, as I stated, lawful gun owners who possess a CT Pistol Permit are screened, trained, and evaluated. Happily for the United States, we generally have objective standards, and when those standards are met, our citizens are guaranteed the freedom to exercise their personal responsibilties.

    Does carrying a defensive sidearm guarantee your safety? No, it does not. However, it “arms” you with an increased capability to resist overwhelming force that you would otherwise not possess. It’s not a magic wand, but it is a tool, that in the hands of a law-abiding citizen, is a tool for good.

  • nudleman

    Yale is only interested in protecting its name. Annie Le’s murder will be whitewashed. Any evidence that Raymond Clark was a workplace bully will be brushed aside, to be relaced by “we had no clue he could be dangerous” mantra. Just watch.

  • julesverne

    I’m horrified by all the things Yale insiders know. Yale is smart enough to cover their own behinds. I spent many hours alone in the Architecture school basement at all times of the day. I always felt pretty safe. I’m sure poor Annie Le was bullied and I can’t believe that no one noticed that. Yale won’t let any of their employees speak.