Students said last week they feel safe in New Haven, especially on campus, but they do not know whom to credit with improving safety in a city that is reputed to be dangerous.
Most agreed crime was an important city concern in the upcoming mayoral race, but none said they would vote entirely on that issue. And as the mayoral primary is still months away, none of the students interviewed had any knowledge of the crime proposals of Mayor John DeStefano or those of his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Martin Looney.
Most students, when asked, acknowledged feeling safe around campus. Crime, they said, did not affect them.
“I feel very safe,” Jon Herczeg ’03 said.
Megan Huth ’04 concurred.
“It seems fine from where I’m at,” she said. “I don’t hear gun shots.”
Kevin Lin ’04 also said he did not see crime much because he stays on campus most of the time.
While crime has undoubtedly dropped recently in New Haven, the issue of who gets the credit for the reduction could prove a major point in the upcoming mayoral campaign.
None of the students interviewed seemed to know exactly whom to commend.
Anahid Powell ’01, said she thought crime in New Haven has improved significantly over the past 10 years. But when asked whether DeStefano deserved the credit, she said she did not know what the source of the improvement was.
Virgil Calejesan ’02 expressed similar attitudes.
“I think Yale does a good job within its own confines. But I really don’t know who’s responsible,” he said.
Some students said that crime is an important issue for them in the upcoming mayoral race, despite its few appearances on campus.
“Of course it’s important,” Lin said. “Even though I don’t see it, it’s still an important issue.”
Powell, who plans to vote in the upcoming mayoral election, agreed. Crime is still an important issue, she said, because the city has a bad reputation for being crime-ridden. Nevertheless, she said, she will vote a candidate’s overall platform, not just on the candidates’ stances on crime in particular.
Calejesan echoed Powell’s concerns. Despite feeling safe on campus, he reiterated the prevailing sentiments used to describe New Haven’s safety situation for years.
“I’ve heard that New Haven has crime problems,” Calejesan said.
While none of the students interviewed had any knowledge of DeStefano’s or Looney’s policies, many had suggestions of their own.
“You need to focus on the things that cause crime,” Huth said. “Poverty often leads to crime.”
Calejesan offered increased police presence a solution to crime.
“It’s nice to have them around as long as they’re not in your face,” he said.
As it stands now, Calejesan said he did not feel the police were too intrusive.
Herczeg seconded the praise, characterizing the current police presence as active enough to reassure him.
“It gives me the perception of safety,” he said.