As students settle into the rhythm of college life after the winter holidays, a wave of crime has swept through Yale’s campus this new year.
The incidents have prompted four campus-wide warnings from the Yale Police Department within the span of two weeks — only four such messages were sent to the Yale community in the entirety of the semester last fall. YPD Chief Ronnell Higgins has consistently urged the community to avoid walking the streets alone, to favor well-lit and well-populated areas and to keep valuables such as cash and electronic devices out of sight. All of the incidents included robberies, often by masked perpetrators, and three individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with one of the thefts.
“Within the past week there have been a number of robberies on campus,” Higgins wrote in a public safety alert last Tuesday. “The Yale Police Department is working closely with the New Haven Police Department and other agencies in effort to identify the individuals responsible for the recent rash of robberies.”
On Jan. 19, two women were mugged near Ingalls Rink — located at the intersection of Prospect and Sachem streets above Benjamin Franklin College and Pauli Murray College. The women were approached from behind by two men wearing masks. One man snatched one of their purses and escaped in a sedan. A few days later, outside of Yale Printing and Publishing Services, another female member of the Yale community was approached by two individuals. One of these individuals demanded her purse and went on to seize it from her, and the two quickly departed in separate vehicles.
According to releases from Higgins, both incidents saw the perpetrators partially caught on camera.
Following the Ingalls Rink robbery, Franklin Head of College Charles Bailyn sent a college-wide message informing students of a direct, “reassuring” conversation he had with Higgins.
“There is no need for anyone to change their behavior in response to this isolated incident,” Bailyn said. “However, we do live in an urban area … It’s always a good idea, wherever you are, to be aware of your surroundings and alert to problems that might arise.”
At 200 Liberty St. — near Yale New Haven Health — two masked individuals forced a woman to the ground, stole her wallet and again exited the scene in cars. The YPD’s investigation revealed that the two vehicles used in this robbery had been reported stolen and have arrested three juveniles in connection with the crime.
In a fourth episode on Jan. 27, two young individuals on bikes approached an undergraduate student and snatched her headphones on Wall Street. The YPD has released three images captured by video cameras of the individuals they believe to be responsible.
According to the YPD’s daily crime logs, this week has seen an uptick in other crimes in close proximity to campus. On Monday, a man was arrested for “breach with striking” on the corner of Church and Crown, and on Tuesday, another individual was arrested for disorderly conduct outside of Blue State Coffee on York Street. The YPD also investigated a man for intimidation with a weapon at 135 Prospect St., across the road from Pauli Murray College. Last week, Vanderbilt Hall on Old Campus — which houses first-year students in Branford and Saybrook — experienced a security breach as a man found his way inside an entryway and allegedly stole toiletries from residents.
“Trust your instincts,” Higgins said. “If you feel unsafe, avail yourself of the many resources that Yale provides.”
Higgins and the YPD have urged students to download the LiveSafe app on their phone and use services such as shuttles and security escorts.
Meera Shoaib | firstname.lastname@example.org