Safety in the city

Amanda Hoskins

Pushing, shoving and jostling was the scene at the shuttle stops over the weekend for transportation to and from New Haven, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger.

Roughly 1,750 students boarded the New Haven Express shuttles from the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses Saturday night and nearly 300 taxis left the Mount Carmel Campus.

The journey back from New Haven was even more packed, with between 2,800 and 3,000 students taking the express shuttle back to the two campuses.

The university hires New Haven police officers to stand at the shuttle stops on the weekends, and this year, those officers said they are surprised at the behavior of the Quinnipiac students, Barger said.

“One of the largest complaints about our students in New Haven is that they are not using crosswalks, they are darting out in front of traffic,” Barger said. “They are pretty much oblivious to any traffic signals.”

Sophomore Christa Jacob said she has seen students behaving poorly toward the officers and shuttle drivers in the downtown area.

“Shuttle drivers shouldn’t have to deal with the way students treat them,” Jacob said. “But they should also take into consideration that they are driving a bunch of drunk college kids around and it isn’t always going to be easy. But it’s also very important to respect the drivers because they are only looking out for our safety.”

Crosswalks and traffic signals are there to ensure the safety of pedestrians in a city like New Haven, but when students are neglecting to pay attention to the signals, their safety is at risk, Barger said.

“Even though it is pretty light down there, it would not be strange for a driver to be intoxicated in that area. It is a downtown area,” he said.

According to Barger, police noted students running out from behind parked cars and crossing the streets diagonally.

“We tell everyone about safety,” Barger said. “Be concerned if you are going to get robbed or apple picked, but part of the safety you have to be aware of is vehicle safety and pedestrian safety. There are a lot of students down there.”

But junior Kelli Rafferty does not think Quinnipiac students are the only problem.

“I think [Quinnipiac students] get a bad rep because we have the shuttle system,” Rafferty said. “I don’t think Yale students 100 percent abide by traffic laws. The fact that Quinnipiac has a shuttle system that brings us to Toad’s just makes us an easy target.”

In addition to the complaints from surrounding police departments, students have complained about their experiences with the shuttles and other students. Just this past weekend, Barger received about 20 emails from students.

And with the year starting out like it has, Barger says he must focus more on these safety issues.

“I am always concerned,” he said. “This concerns me as much as anything that we have had here.”

However, Barger said there fortunately have been no cases of armed robbery and larceny in New Haven involving students. But he said he fears the number of crimes against students in New Haven could increase.

“I am sure that will change because students, especially intoxicated students, are seen as easy targets for the perpetrators of crime down there,” he said.

The university is preparing for this weekend, with freshmen gaining express shuttle access this weekend, and Barstool Blackout coming to Toad’s Place on Thursday.

“We are working closely with the provost office and student affairs and we are trying to see how we are exactly going to handle this,” Barger said.

The amount of armed robbery and larceny that usually occurs when students are in New Haven on the weekends has been little to none, Barger said.