Costantini: How to pretend New Haven is safe

Oh, seniors: Remember Chief Perotti’s charming notification emails in the fall of freshman year which somehow reinforced our theories of why it would never happen to us? But as crime seems to strike closer to home in New Haven, we’ve all had to get a bit more creative to justify our safety. Wednesday night, before sunset, my roommate’s friend was accosted by a man in a ski mask at the doorsteps of my apartment building on Park Street. Two days earlier three ladies beat up a grad student just down the block at 8:30 pm. It’s clear I’m not safe. But my mind will eternally grasp at straws to avoid that fact. The best way to pretend New Haven is safe? Lie to yourself! It’s fun! Here’s how I do it:

Crime notification, fall of 2007:

To the Members of the Yale Community,

Consistent with federal reporting requirements and in order to increase awareness of personal safety, I write to inform you that a graduate student was walking alone and accosted on some street far far away at some really unreasonable hour in some really unheard of part of the city. He was approached by woman in a red turban who lacerated him multiple times with milk crates. Isn’t that silly? So anyways, please be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid walking alone after dark and make note of the emergency Blue Phones along the way.



(Note to all non-seniors: This actually happened in the spring of 2007. Well not the “kisses” part, but the lacerating-milk-crates-turban part did anyway. Crime was a sorta magical mystical mythical thing back in the day.)

Cristina’s freshman-year rationalization: Uhhhh. Duh. I’d never walk alone, never on that specific street and lord knows I’d never be a graduate student. I’m not nearly well-dressed or self-satisfied enough. Also, who doesn’t know how to avoid the laceration-inducing blow of a milk crate?

Three years later, crime notification, spring of 2011:

To the Members of the Yale Community,

A girl of half-Argentinean, half-Midwestern descent was accosted in the very center of Elm and York at 3:29 p.m. while she was diaga-crossing to avoid the Flower Lady. The victim, who has a totally unique birth mark on the back of her left leg and has two different-sized thumbs, was listening to Rihanna’s “What’s My Name,” one of two songs on her iPod, when the attack occurred. The student was coming home from L2 Portuguese where she had just received the worst grade of her Yale career for basically taking the whole test in Spanish. Her teacher insists the two languages are not the same thing, but the student still has her doubts (disculpa, profesora Marta). By no means was she walking alone; every friend or family member she has ever known was walking with her at that very moment. Nelson Mandela and the ghost of Elvis Presley were there too.

The assailant, wearing an adorable tweed blazer, delicate sterling silver jewelry and red glasses perched atop her ski mask, was undeniably Dean Mary Miller. She made away with the student’s laptop and every worldly possession of any value to her (every copy of every baby photo, her grandmother’s bridal veil and her Yale ID), all of which she happened to be carrying.

So, uh, yeah. Best of luck kids, I guess. There doesn’t seem to be much more I or you can do. Maybe try humming “Bah-bah-Blacksheep” when you’re scared? Also, Altoids are a tasty treat that make me feel good when I’m down.

Menacingly yours,

Chief Bad News Bears Higgins

Cristina: Uhhhh. Duh. Who is this girl? How could she be so reckless? I’d never do any of that stuff … ever. First of all, I never really avoid the Flower Lady, I’m just always in a big hurry, so that’s not fair. (Either way, I pray she doesn’t have a GoogleAlert on her pseudonym.) Also, everyone knows that Portuguese and Spanish are toooootally diferente (was that in Spanish or Portuguese? You’ll never know, nor will I). I mean yeah, I have that birthmark and those thumbs, and that exact same ethnic makeup, but really this girl is totally different from me. She sounds like an idiot. I would never listen to the same Rihanna song eight times a day on my iPod, because that’s not what well-adjusted people do. … Who would do that? I’m totally safe. Who travels on New Haven streets at times that end in prime-numbered digits? You’re just asking for it. Seriously. I’m fine.

Now that I’ve thoroughly offended every Brazilian and insinuated that the lovely Dean Mary Miller is behind most New Haven muggings (think about it, it makes sense), let me say this: Please, be careful, kids. Take the Minibus. New Haven, like the Internet, is a scary place. And Yale: The Minibus sucks. Most kids won’t wait two hours for a ride at 3 a.m. Please make it easier for us to be safe in a city that isn’t. Maybe just start by giving students police batons from Charlie Chaplin movies? That might be more effective.


  • Sara

    New Haven is safe. We have a daytime population of 160,000 people, at least. If there is one random non drug related mugging in the entire city per week, that makes your chances of being a victim pretty low, even if you spend all your time wandering the city. In Manhattan, several people, all recent college grads, were shot & killed in random muggings near my apartment but I only heard about it in the paper- my roommates were oblivious. A little farther north, two NYU and Columbia students were pushed into the path of cars during muggings and killed in two separate incidents. Happens all the time in NYC but you don’t have a Perroti system to email blast the entire city about it. Take some precautions and you’ll be safe.
    Also, the number of students who have been mowed down and killed by cars or trucks in the past 35 years exceeds the number killed in crimes by a factor of 20:1, but for some reason the YDN doesn’t memorialize them with front page stories decades later. We have an obsession with crime and ignore the things that really put us at risk.

  • lalocruz

    April Fools?

  • The Anti-Yale


    Listen Yale to a Real Voice of New Haven
    My cousin, a New Haven lifelong resident, reports on New Haven violence in a facebook email to me:
    This is the first time in the 35 years of Toad’s that an incident like this has occurred. Now let’s look at some of the facts, shall we? The mayor of New Haven ( John Destefano), has disbanded the drug task force, laid off 16 city cops, closed 2 firehouses, and is working on cutting back teacher jobs, all with in a 2 year period (the drug task force was closed 3 years ago, with the Billy White incident, and the cop layoffs happened about a month ago). The crime rate ( especially Shootings) has skyrocketed. My wife is still a paramedic in the city and not one night goes by that there is not a shooting, one after the night of Toad’s, where a white male answered his door on Bassett Street and was shot dead as he answered the door, point blank range in the chest, because he called the po-lice about a break in the day before. So that is what New Haven has become, a bunch of animals running wild, armed and dangerous. Mostly because all the gang bangers Billy White put away in the 1980’s are getting out of prison now, and they know,there are just not enough cops out there ( kudos to the mayor again) to respond to these incidents. I wonder what it’s going to take to stop this. One of the Lts. of NHPD that [sic] was laid off stated that ” The good citizens of New Haven had better arm themselves, because if you think things are bad now, wait until we are all laid off.” Guess he was right. Your cousin,

  • Jaymin

    I have an EMT class Tuesday and Thursday nights at Yale Health. They don’t even let us leave now without taking a shuttle. You know it’s getting bad when they’re afraid of letting you walk to and from your own classes.

  • Leah

    I didn’t know you were taking EMT classes, Jaymin! That sounds excellent. My friend Zu really enjoyed hers sophomore year.

  • harbinger

    Poor PK, the crime must really frighten you for it to cause you this much concern 300 miles away in the wilds of Vermont. And I’m surprised your wife remains here as a paramedic if it’s so dangerous, must be made of sterner stuff. But down to brass tacks, the crime will stop when the community finally admits who the criminals are. It’s not the Crimson, or two fellows from Princeton pulling your beanie over your eyes and running away with your signed photo of Handsome Dan. I work at the health plan, and while I never really feel unsafe I know when other people do. Just as we all know who commits the majority of crimes on campus, but it’s impolite and politically incorrect to say. Thats truth and light in a nutshell. We’ve become so afraid of being labeled a racist we even refuse to identify criminals in an e-mail. That’s when you know they’ve won, as we’re to gutless to even put up a hint of resistance. I would suggest asking the University to arm the security guards, at least it will be more protection on the streets and in our building. But that costs money, and you aren’t worth that much to the university.

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