Hamden crime rates increase

Sarah Doiron

Some students who live off campus, such as junior Kevin Pollard, take more safety precautions living off campus due to crime in the area.

“Based on the stuff that’s happened, we definitely always need to lock our doors,” he said.

In the past month alone, there have been two separate assaults and robberies on Hamden women, according to the New Haven Register. Before students left for winter break, a pizza delivery man was robbed and assaulted near the York Hill campus.

Crimes rates in Hamden have increased slightly, as they always do before winter break, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger.

“We have seen a slight uptake in crimes that affect [the university] in a larger picture but don’t affect [the university] directly, such as drug crimes and robberies in the Hamden area,” he said.

Barger believes these crimes have the greatest affect on students who live off campus where Public Safety does not patrol.

“We do the best we can with patrols [of off campus housing] which gives them an extra layer of security,” he said. “But we don’t patrol neighborhoods with property that is not owned by the university.”

Barger said he does not know if Hamden PD has stepped up their patrols, but believes they are doing an admirable job in protecting the community.

Junior Alisha Galli lives in the Aspen Glen apartment complex. She said she feels safer living off campus than she does living on campus.

“There are double locks to get inside the building,” she said. “There’s the front door which takes a special key to get into, and then our own individual door, so it’s not like having a Q-Card where anyone can tap in if they have a card.”

Barger thinks this increase in crimes is the natural progression of living near a city like New Haven.

“It appears as though some of the crime from [New Haven] is making it’s way up Dixwell Ave.,” he said. “As people become more aware of what crimes occur in the city, and when [the police] do things to combat it, the crime ultimately moves elsewhere.”

Barger believes students should be careful whenever they travel anywhere off campus.

“Students should be aware of where they are, what establishments they are going into and they have to be aware when they are surrounded by strangers.”

He also said students can become easy targets if they drink too much, carry expensive belongings out in the open or do not lock their cars after parking.

Barger is also a strong proponent of the buddy system, something he believes is taught to everyone when he or she is younger.

“The buddy system carries over [in college],” he said. “If you’re out with friends you always want to make sure your friends are safe. You need to keep tabs on your friends while you are out and be his/her buddy, and I don’t think that is too overbearing.”

Students also have access to a phone app called Rave Guardian that can be used in emergency situations. If you sign up for mass texts from the university, you can go to the website and sign up for this app.

Barger said some students feel like this is an invasion of privacy, but the app only activates if you allow it to activate.

“Some students feel like it is a GPS that tracks your every move like a prisoner under house arrest when in fact the Rave Guardian is only for emergencies and that is when it counts the most,” he said.

Barger also said students are reminded of safety measure they can take through emails sent by him throughout the school year.

“We always remind students with emails on how to protect themselves and reminders of what they should be looking for,” he said.

Barger plans to send an email out before spring break reminding students to stay safe during the week they are away from campus.

The Hamden Police Department did not return multiple requests for comment in time for publication.