The New Haven Police Department has seen a rise in crime within the city since late August, the precise time that students returned to Quinnipiac. This rise in crime has occurred primarily in the city’s entertainment district, which is often visited by Quinnipiac students because of the area’s well-known clubs and nightlife.
The district has had one murder, three assaults with firearms, two aggravated assaults and 45 robberies, 17 of which were at gunpoint, according to statistics from the Public Safety Department. Vandalism, threats and narcotic violations have also increased.
Early in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 14, two people were shot near the Empire Nightclub on the corner of Church Street and Crown Street, according to Public Safety. The victims suffered non-life threatening wounds. Later on that Saturday night, gunshots were fired on the corner George Street and College Street. No one was hit by the gunfire.
This increase in crime, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger, is a result of the poor economic times that the country is facing. When the economy drops, there is often an increase in property crime, burglaries and larcenies.
“The noticeable spike in the crime has been in the area that our students frequent,” Barger said. “That’s what concerns us, the city of New Haven and the New Haven Police Department.”
Public Safety officials began to work alongside other schools with students in the area, like Yale University and the University of New Haven, as well as the New Haven Police Department, to take the steps necessary in order to make the area more safe.
The New Haven Police Department increased the presence of police officers to deal with the larger student population found in the city on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Approximately 3,000 Quinnipiac students went to New Haven on the first weekend back, Barger said.
Public Safety understands that students will continue to go into New Haven on the weekends, despite the crime increase. However, Barger hopes students will be more careful.
“I don’t really think that this changes anything,” sophomore Lucas Blom said. “Before I came to school here, I already had heard stories about the dangers of New Haven, and I still go fairly often. When you think about it, going to any city can be dangerous.”
Barger also suggests that students going to the New Haven area travel in groups and avoid confrontations of any kind. Planning approximate departure times from New Haven with roommates back on campus ahead of time is also important, Barger said. If a roommate knows that you said you would be back at 2 a.m., and you are still not back at 4 a.m., they can contact Public Safety.
“If you’re going to be down in the entertainment district, know where you are,” Barger said. “Be very, very aware of your surroundings, especially if something happens or if you see something.”
Keeping Apple products like iPhones away while walking is also important, Barger said. Apple products have been a common item taken in many of the New Haven robberies.