Report finds uptick in robberies, sex offenses


Yale released its annual report on campus security and fire safety for 2011 in an email sent Monday afternoon by Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Linder.

The report, compiled annually as required by federal law, showed that campus crime stayed relatively steady from 2010 to 2011, except for an increase in robberies and reported sexual offences on and around campus. Notably excluded from the report, however, was the number of larcenies, which officials said is the most common sort of crime affecting the University.

“Overall, Yale continues to have low crime on campus,” University spokesman Tom Conroy said. “The increase in robberies and thefts, especially of portable electronic devices, has been in areas around campus as opposed to on campus.”

If a theft involves illegal entry, it is termed a burglary — otherwise, it is a larceny. Although larcenies are most likely to occur on campus, larceny statistics were not displayed in the annual report because Yale is not obliged to report such crimes under federal law.

According to Conroy, there were 274 larcenies on campus in 2011 as opposed to just 41 burglaries. He said this underscored the need to “lock doors and keep smartphones and laptops safe.”

Conroy claimed that Yale’s campus is secure thanks to the efforts of the Yale Police Department, a view supported by a poll conducted by the News in April. In the poll, only 12 percent of the 763 students surveyed had a negative view of the YPD and its operations, as opposed to the 52 percent who had favorable opinions and the 36 percent who said they were neutral.

Andrew McMahon ’15, who resides in the Berkeley entryway where a student was robbed last month , said he felt safe on campus.

“There are 8 police officers within 30 seconds of campus,” McMahon said. “I am not worried.”

But the report documented a spurt in reported sexual offences both on and off campus in 2011, which nearly doubled from 12 in 2010 to 20 in 2011. Conroy said that although more cases were reported in 2011, many of the crimes that were reported during 2011 took place at a time before that year, which he ascribed to steps taken by the University to raise awareness about sexual misconduct and encourage reporting of such crimes. He also linked it to the fact that the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct began hearing incidents beginning in July 2011, increasing the number of reported cases.

“The University’s position is that the goal is zero sexual misconduct or offenses,” Conroy said. “But for any that occur, the victims must come forward.”

Suzanna Fritzberg, the head public relations coordinator for the Yale Women’s Center, said she is hopeful that the programs created in 2011 will improve the sexual climate at Yale. However, she cautioned that although these programs are positive, the University is still in need of a sexual “culture change”. She said the statistics in the campus security report may be a dangerous sign.

“These numbers are a cause for concern,” Fritzberg said, “These aren’t something that we should look at and brush off.”

There was also a marked increase in the number of robberies reported on and around campus, and the figure nearly doubled from 2010. While 2009 saw 10 robberies and 2010 saw 14, there were a total of 25 robberies during the 2011-’12 school year. The number of burglaries, meanwhile, increased slightly from 36 in 2010 to 41 in 2011, but was still significantly lower than the 74 reported in 2009.

These figures, however, run counter to the trend of crime in the whole of New Haven, which has generally decreased over the past few years. Besides the uptick in robberies and reported sexual offences, however, crime on campus has remained at a steady level over the past year.

The report presents data on crime statistics from 2009, 2010 and 2011 in accordance with the Clery Act, which requires the university to submit the data to the U.S. Department of Education.

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