In the aftermath of the shooting death of a Yale graduate student, the Yale Police Department and administration spoke to leaders of Yale’s constituent schools at their request to provide updates about the investigation and to address safety concerns.
In a statement to the News, Assistant YPD Chief Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 said that YPD has no plans to increase officer presence in New Haven despite anxiety surrounding the death of Kevin Jiang ENV ’22. Instead, Campbell said the University is working with the Yale Shuttle Service to enhance shuttle routes to address safety concerns.
The statement comes after a Friday email addressed to Yale graduate students from Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Lynn Cooley. The email said that the YPD is “pushing their patrol boundaries as far north as possible [and] augmenting police presence” in several neighborhoods in response to an uptick in violent crime in New Haven and to Jiang’s death.
But Campbell clarified in a statement to the News that YPD is not revising its patrol procedures.
“There was no mention of hiring additional officers, or of expanding beyond our defined patrol boundaries,” said Campbell about the meetings with Yale’s schools. “We explained to the schools that Yale has a defined boundary and that East Rock falls outside of that boundary, therefore, we do not patrol in that area.”
In a separate Tuesday email to the News, Cooley wrote that the YPD will not be hiring additional officers or expanding beyond their defined patrol boundaries and apologized for confusion caused by her original message.
“The YPD provided us with updates about the investigation and addressed safety concerns by increasing their visibility throughout the entire campus,” Cooley wrote in her Tuesday email.
Campbell added that the University is partnering with local health care professionals and the New Haven Police Department to address trauma surrounding Jiang’s death.
Still, Cooley’s email added that NHPD Chief Otoniel Reyes believes there is “no prevailing threat to the community” related to the Feb. 6 shooting death of Jiang.
Cooley’s Friday night email also informed students that Qinxuan Pan, a person of interest in the investigation of Jiang’s death, is no longer in Connecticut. She invited students to memorial events for Jiang, including a funeral service held last Saturday and a virtual Tribute Wall.
YPD’s jurisdiction already covers the location of the shooting, as the department shares boundaries with the city’s police department. YPD Chief Ronnell Higgins has previously said that while YPD technically can patrol anywhere in New Haven, officers regularly patrol only the areas immediately around campus — which include Prospect Hill, Downtown, the Hill and Dwight.
A 1992 Memorandum of Understanding signed by NHPD and YPD allows YPD to patrol the city. But some New Haven residents have criticized YPD’s presence as an example of over-policing, characterizing the University force as one prong of a “triple occupation” of New Haven by the Yale, New Haven and Hamden police departments.
Campbell, also a former NHPD chief, went before the Board of Alders Public Safety Committee in August and said that YPD and NHPD have a collaborative relationship and work to “provide one another with backup.”
According to NHPD Compstat data, citywide crime from the beginning of the year through Jan. 31 is down 42.6 percent from the same period last year. Still, the percent of confirmed shots fired during the same period was up 158.3 percent. Additionally, while there had been zero homicides during January 2020, the city recorded five homicides in January 2021. NHPD is investigating Jiang’s death as a potential sixth.
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Update, Feb. 15 at 11:18 p.m.: As new information has become available, the headline has been updated. The story will be updated shortly.
Update, Feb. 16 at 12:34 a.m.: This story has been updated to include comments from Campbell, who clarified that YPD and the Yale administration have corresponded with concerned community members but has not changed its patrol patterns.
Update, Feb. 16 at 12:33 p.m.: The story has been updated to include Cooley’s comments apologizing for confusion in her original email and stating that the YPD will increase its visibility on Yale’s campus but not extend its boundaries.