Members of the Class of 2018 have grown more confident about campus safety since arriving at Yale.
Yale and New Haven have long been associated with urban crime and high-profile violent incidents. In order to shake this reputation, Yale’s Freshman Orientation program has highlighted the campus’s safety resources.
“We don’t want to frighten the freshmen, but we do want them to have an awareness of their surroundings,” Janet Lindner, who oversees campus safety and operations, said via email. “We learn constantly, develop programs based on student needs and the issues students are encountering, and reach out to students for ideas.”
Out of the 27 freshmen surveyed about their impressions of campus safety, a majority said that, after arriving on campus, they no longer viewed campus safety as a major concern.
Sixteen of the students responded that, before arriving, they had felt uneasy about Yale and New Haven. The other 11 reported less apprehension, with about half equating New Haven’s environment to that of any other urban area.
Everyone interviewed attributed their newfound impressions to Yale Police policies that they learned about during Freshman Orientation.
“Yale does a very good job of making sure that security is well dispersed throughout campus and of providing safety services such as the shuttle,” said Ilana Kaufman ’18.
According to George Gemelas ’18, the ID scanners at the gates and doors add to the feeling of security. Other freshmen also mentioned the presence of blue phones around campus, which connect straight to the Yale Police Department.
Lincoln Mitchell ’15, a freshman counselor in Davenport, agreed that the reputation New Haven has acquired over the years is not fully merited and that the city doesn’t actually differ substantially from other medium-sized cities.
“New Haven and Yale’s bad reputation is not justified in the context of students because the violence in New Haven is rarely directed at students,” said Fabian Fernandez ’15, another freshman counselor in Davenport.
Still, students expressed reservations about parts of the city beyond downtown. While many of the students said they feel relatively comfortable going off campus, a majority of them answered that they have to take more precautions when going away from campus.
Beyond what security infrastructure on campus offers, most freshmen indicated that being safe was also a simple matter of “being smart.” During their session with YPD Chief of Police Ronnell Higgins, freshmen were informed of tactics including use of the Yale shuttle late at night and creating a buddy system.
“I’ve been off Yale’s campus, and as long as I am with friends I haven’t felt threatened,” said Samantha Angle ’18.
Students can learn more about campus safety by visiting Yale’s public safety website.