Davenport College has been hit by another rash of thefts.
The ongoing investigation into the theft of five computers from the Davenport library in late September expanded last week after a Blu-ray player and audio-visual receiver were reported missing from the college’s buttery Wednesday. While Yale Police Department officers further increased patrols around the college in the wake of the latest thefts, none of the stolen items have been recovered. In response to the unresolved burglaries, Davenport administrators and the YPD have worked to increase student awareness about guarding their personal property — holding an information session Sunday to help members of the college register for anti-theft tracking software and Bulldog Mobile, a phone-based security aid introduced at the start of this year.
“We’re trying to increase our patrols, make ourselves more visible, to deter thefts in any way we can,” YPD officer Eric Bailey said. “It’s our responsibility to teach [students] what to do in order to prevent future thefts from happening.”
YPD Assistant Chief Steven Woznyk said in a Sunday email that the investigation is ongoing, but that there has been no evidence to indicate forced entry and that the stolen items had been left unattended by students.
While Bailey declined to comment on the YPD’s investigation or on whether he thought the thieves were members of the Yale community, he said it was unlikely the culprit was a student. After gaining admission to Yale, students would “have too much to lose” by committing computer theft, he said.
Bailey added that background investigations should be conducted on individuals brought in by “outside agencies,” such as cleaning staff.
New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said his department has not received reports of the Davenport robberies, which fall under the jurisdiction of the YPD. While Hartman said he did not wish to speculate on whether the culprits were external or internal to the University, he said the “well-secured” nature of the residential colleges makes undetected intrusion unlikely.
With last week’s thefts indicating that the problem has not subsided, Davenport and police officials alike have renewed efforts to educate students about security measures.
Reminding students to make sure “no one is piggybacking into the gates” and to report suspicious individuals to the police will help prevent the possibility of thefts by external parties, Bailey said. The YPD is also encouraging students to lock doors and secure their possessions, he added.
“We only have two eyes, two feet — we can’t be everywhere at once,” Bailey said, adding that the YPD operates better with student cooperation.
Bailey and YPD Sgt. Marnie Robbins-Hoffman set up a table outside the Davenport dining hall from 5-7 p.m. Sunday to promote anti-theft software and answer student questions on theft prevention.
One of the three programs promoted Sunday, STOP, uses tracking software and physical deterrents to prevent computer theft. The program provides users with a registered sticker that can attach to phones, laptops and other devices to track a device’s location. Taking off the sticker requires more than 800 pounds of force, Robbins-Hoffman said, adding that the sticker leaves a mark of “Stolen Property” if removed.
“Ideally, we’re hoping that if someone was to bring a stolen laptop to a reputable pawn shop, the owner would see the sticker or the marking and realize it was stolen,” Robbins-Hoffman said.
A three-year STOP subscription costs $30, but Robbins-Hoffman said Yale is negotiating a school-wide contract with anti-theft software company Front Door Software to provide free tracking software for students.
The YPD also promoted Bulldog Mobile, a free download available to the Yale community that allows users to build a profile of emergency information — helping police respond to emergencies involving those individuals.
Wednesday’s reported thefts came almost a month after an iMac was stolen from Davenport’s computer cluster on Sept. 24 — the last theft to occur until the Blu-ray and audio-visual receiver were taken.