Dear Chief Perrotti:

So what’s up with all the police around campus?

We’ve been looking pretty hard for information from you on this, and we haven’t found any. No loving postscript in any of your emails, no “Coffee and Donuts with the Yale Police” question-and-answer session, not even a page on your Security Awareness Web site. It’s tempting to believe that it’s all in our heads; maybe we forgot things over the summer, or maybe we’ve just gotten more paranoid. But the evidence is pretty clearly there, and many have noticed.

We’ve seen the patrol cars circling central campus; we’ve seen the officers pacing through Saybrook and Branford late at night, and sitting on benches in TD not so late at night. None of us remember having a police officer knock on our propped-open common room doors before to “make sure somebody’s in there.” And, of course, there’s the whole ticketing-jaywalkers thing.

To be honest, it’s a little bit off-putting: A college courtyard feels less safe, ironically, when it’s impossible to walk through it alone. Of course, aesthetics are secondary to safety in these matters, and we’re willing to believe there’s a good reason for the security hike — it’s just that if that’s the case we’d really like to know what that reason is.

Is it an attempt to prevent suite burglaries of the kind that happened last fall? It seems odd to wait a year to take preventive action, but we’d love to thank you anyway; send us an e-mail and let us know you’re looking out for us.

Are officers working to become more approachable so that they can get to know students better and therefore protect them better? We’re unlikely to sit down and chat with an officer if we don’t know why he’s around; tell us, and we’ll start to relax.

Are you trying to deter disorderly partying? Maybe you could have warned us that a crackdown would be necessary if we didn’t clean up our act, but even after the fact an announcement of the crackdown will probably do more to whip us into shape than the unexplained spike in patrolling.

We know you’re here to look out for us, but without any further information on the security hike it feels uneasily like we’re now the ones being policed. Please do us a favor and send us an e-mail — you certainly know how to reach us. We don’t necessarily mind getting letters from you that aren’t mandated by federal reporting requirements, and we certainly don’t want to wait until we’re the ones apprehended by courtyard patrols to figure out who and what they’re looking for.


The Members of the Yale Community