In a public safety update emailed out Thursday afternoon, Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins warned the Yale community of a growing trend in violent behavior he termed the “knockout game.”

In said game, Higgins wrote, groups of teenagers or young adults are approaching people on the street and “hitting them” for little apparent reason other than the gratuitous act of violence.”The goal appears to be to hit and then to run away, rather than robbery,” Higgins clarified.

He said a recent incident of the knockout game occurred on the Church Street overpass near Gateway Community College. He said the practice appears to be a national trend, much like “apple picking,” where thieves seek to grab an iPhone from a passerby and then run away.