Fall Public Safety Update

August 29, 2016

To the Yale Community:

On behalf of the men and women of the Yale Police Department (YPD), I hope that everyone had a wonderful summer. And as the fall semester begins, I would like to offer some tips on how to stay safe across the campus and the surrounding community.

Located in the heart of downtown New Haven, Yale engages in many partnerships with the city, including a joint effort to ensure the safety of our hometown. The University’s commitment to maintaining safety extends from the uniformed Yale police officers who patrol campus and have full police powers, to the presence of uniformed security officers who manage the access controls to campus buildings, oversee the University’s alarm systems, provide security escorts and rides, and maintain safety in and around campus buildings. In addition, the Yale and New Haven Police work in close partnership to solve problems and build upon the city’s community policing initiatives.

Thanks to the collective efforts of public safety professionals throughout this city and the entire Yale community, violent crime continues to decline on campus. Most crimes that do occur are thefts of property, particularly laptops, portable phones and bikes. With the help of our community, thefts on campus have declined year to date by 17% as compared to this time last year.

In an effort to continue to foster a safe environment, the new school year is a good time for all of us to remember that taking some simple precautions, and learning about available safety services, can really make a difference in decreasing crime.
Tips to help you stay safe:

  • Plan ahead and stay safe. Yale has an extensive system of “blue light” emergency phones, and fixed-route shuttles that run daily until 1 a.m. as well as walking escorts and safe rides at night.
  • Don’t hesitate to call the Yale Police if you see anything suspicious that concerns you, or if you see a crime in progress. Call the Yale Police at 203-432-4400 or dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Pay attention, don’t be distracted. Quite a number of crimes we see involve people who were “Digitally Distracted:” talking, texting or listening to music while walking, and generally unaware of their surroundings.
  • Members of our community driving to, from and around campus are reminded to be vigilant of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Pedestrians and bicyclists also need to follow the rules of the road, including crossing with the light at crosswalks. Sharing the road can be challenging in downtown New Haven, so please stay alert.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices that are visible are top targets for thieves. Set the “find my phone” app if you have an iPhone.
  • Don’t leave your portable electronic devices unattended, even “for a minute.”
  • Don’t display cash or your cell phone on the street.
  • Lock your room or apartment doors. You’d be surprised how often we hear that a phone or laptop has been stolen after someone left a door unlocked. In offices and residential areas, keep valuables out of sight and locked whenever possible.
  • Lock your bike! The YPD recommends the use of U-Shaped Kryptonite Locks.
  • Don’t walk alone at night.  Walk with a group along a well-lit route whenever possible, take the shuttle, or call for a security escort at night on campus:  203-432-6330.
  • Become familiar with the shuttle routes and other services.

A little action on your part will go a long way towards preventing crime.
What is a “Messages from the Chief?”

Throughout the year, you will hear from me through public safety updates, and also through “Messages from the Chief” that alert you to campus crimes that pose an ongoing or imminent threat to the campus community; these messages are required by Federal law and are designed not to alarm you, but to provide you with important information to help you stay safe. You will not hear about every crime on campus or in the city of New Haven—these warnings are for serious crimes occurring on campus that represent a threat to our campus community. Yale Police also publish a daily crime log for all crimes occurring on campus; these data can be found on the public safety website.
Office Hours

I am a proud resident of New Haven and I enjoy meeting and getting to know community members, visitors, campus groups, and residents in the city’s many neighborhoods. You can expect to see me out and about on campus, and I look forward to seeing you. Starting in September, I’m offering open office hours the first Wednesday of each month on campus; call my office for details 203 432-4407 or email safe@yale.edu.
Welcome back or welcome to campus!
Ronnell A. Higgins
Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Yale University