Recent U.S. Department of Education data has pinned Yale as one of the more dangerous college campuses in Connecticut — but some Yalies say this does not align with their experiences.
The DOE recently released a report comparing the rates of reported campus crime in all Connecticut colleges and universities from 2011 to 2013. The data focused on the numbers of reported sex offenses, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts and arson. While crime levels on campus have prompted some universities to push for heightened security measures, Yale students interviewed were satisfied with the security presence on campus.
“Safety, in terms of public safety, is not something that the students have voiced as a primary concern,” said YCC President Michael Herbert ’16.
According to the most recent statistics released by the DOE, rates of reported campus crime have remained steady across Connecticut. However, the data also show that, among its Connecticut counterparts, Yale has experienced some of the highest rates of reported crime.
Still, Yale Police Department Assistant Lieutenant Von Narcisse said that Yale’s campus crime last year was one of the lowest on record and that the YPD expects this year’s crime rates to drop even further. He said that, like crime rates in the Elm City, Yale’s crime has been steadily decreasing for years. And, of the 24 schools compared, Yale has had among the lowest numbers of reported aggravated assault, with zero incidents last year.
Narcisse added that this year’s anticipated decline in campus crime is part of a 20-year trend.
Yale’s number of reported forcible sex offenses has decreased in the three-year span, from 18 in 2011 to 12 last year. In a comparison with 22 other colleges, Trinity College and the University of Connecticut, with 21 and 23 reported offenses, respectively, were the only two colleges with a higher number of incidences.
In 2013 Yale had 52 reported burglaries — the highest number among other Connecticut colleges. That year, University of Connecticut had the second highest number at 31 burglaries.
Yet seven Yale students interviewed all said that they feel generally safe on campus.
Leyla Levi ’16 said that, while she believes that the security presence on campus is strong, she feels less secure in areas just outside of central campus.
Other students agreed that their primary safety concerns were in areas off campus. Evelyn Torres ’17 said that incidents like the attempted burglary at the Elmhurst apartment complex on Monday reflect the need for Yale to extend its security presence beyond campus.
“It’s kind of sad that these concerns keep people from exploring beyond campus,” Levi said.
Narcisse said in an email that a number of variables contribute to the differences in campus crime rates. He cited bicycle theft — a significant problem for students this year — as one of the main drivers behind Yale’s crime numbers.
While Yale students’ safety concerns lie off campus, students in other Connecticut colleges have turned their attention inward. For the past three years, a student advisory committee to the board that governs Connecticut State Colleges & Universities has been pushing for improved security measures.
According to the advisory committee, students within the system of four state universities and 12 community colleges felt that their campuses did not have adequate safety measures. Student Advisory Committee chair Sarah Greco added that, in response to the students’ concerns, the board hired a consulting group to evaluate the security systems.
Southern Connecticut State University senior Matthew Ormrod said that, while he generally feels safe on campus, the school’s location made buildings more susceptible to trespassers.
“New Haven is one of the more crime ridden cities, so obviously it’s not a great area where the campus is,” Ormrod said. “Anyone can come into any of the buildings or classrooms at any given day.”
SCSU is located less than two miles away from Yale’s campus.