Public Safety increases security after New Haven incident

Katherine Rojas

A group of people attacked a Quinnipiac student in New Haven last weekend, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger. Following the incident, the Department of Public Safety sent out a university-wide email advising students to be aware of their safety in New Haven.

“One of our students was on the Green and was attacked by a group — [these] groups [are] traveling in New Haven approaching individuals carrying iPhones, iPads and other gadgets,” Barger said.

In the email, Chief Barger stated his awareness of “several robberies that have recently occurred in New Haven, especially in areas frequented by Quinnipiac University students.” These robberies were targeted at individuals carrying iPhones, Droids and other mobile devices, as well as wallets and pocketbooks.

Junior Class President Matt Desilets stated in an email how he’s received student complaints about their safety in New Haven.

Desilets said the attack could have been avoided if the distance from the shuttle stop and destinations in New Haven were closer.

With the distance between the shuttle stops in New Haven and the areas students go, “are we putting students in danger?” Desilets asked.

The Student Government Association plans to meet with Public Safety in the coming weeks to analyze and possibly revise Public Safety’s role in New Haven, Desilets said.

“One suggestion brought forth yesterday by Junior Class Representative Theo Siggelakis was to line the path most Quinnipiac students take to popular New Haven locations with Quinnipiac Public Safety officers,” Desilets said.

Another solution, Desilets explained, was to work on the shuttle stop locations in New Haven. However, the shuttle stops are organized by the city of New Haven, and are located at actual bus stops, according to Barger.

“Our hands are short of tied with where we can pick up and discharge students,” Barger said. “We’ve looked over the years of our shuttle program and looked at doing it at different places and again it comes down to what the city will allow you to utilize. ”

In order to improve students’ safety, the Department of Public Safety added new features to its job this year, according to Barger. One change is having an eight-person tactical squad, where the officials work by the shuttle stop on South Lot every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Department of Public Safety has also been working closely with the New Haven Police Department, especially at the shuttle stops in New Haven on the weekends.

“We have in the past and we will continue to hire [New Haven] police officers to staff those areas where, in fact, we have our shuttle stops,” Barger said. “We hire them on over time to work with our public safety officers down in New Haven.”

Another way Public Safety plans to enhance its presence is by starting up Campus Walkthroughs with students. Public Safety has been working with Evan Milas, vice president of student concerns, on creating a six-person student group to accompany Public Safety on its campus walkthroughs.

It’s the first time Public Safety is doing this, according to Barger. The walkthroughs will take place on the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses every Friday night at 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

“We’ll look at things that would be of concern for students and of safety and security,” Barger said.

The university-wide email Barger sent out this morning was the start up of Public Safety’s action on helping students stay safe.

“I really want people to be aware of their surroundings, even here on campus,” Barger said. “We can’t be everywhere at every moment. We can try to set the best stage for everyone to be safe [but] we can’t be there all the time. At some level students need to be responsible for their own safety.”