Amid a carjacking three miles from QU, commuters express safety concerns

Katie Langley, News Editor

In the aftermath of a carjacking on Town Walk Drive in Hamden, Quinnipiac University students living off campus said they felt uneasy and have increased safety precautions.

The incident occurred on Oct. 27, at 11:45 p.m., according to an Oct. 28, email to students from Chief of Public Safety Tony Reyes.

Reyes wrote in the email that the 21-year-old victim, who was not a Quinnipiac student, was exiting his vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot when he was approached by three individuals wearing masks and armed with a gun.

The suspects stole the vehicle and some of the victim’s personal belongings and fled the scene. The victim was not injured.

In response to the Chronicle’s public records request for the police report of the incident, the Hamden Police Department said it was “collecting and reviewing” the documents as of Nov. 3.

Reyes also wrote that the victim’s vehicle was recovered in Milford the following day.

Multiple Quinnipiac students, such as senior law in society major Morgan Clarke, live in the Town Walk at Hamden Hills apartments where the carjacking occurred. The complex is about three miles from the Mount Carmel campus.

Chief of Public Safety Tony Reyes encouraged students to take safety measures in an email sent to students Oct. 28, following the carjacking. (Daniel Passapera)

Clarke said that she heard about previous carjackings in the area, but that she and her roommate only found out about the Oct. 27, incident after Reyes’ email.

“It wasn’t really surprising that something like this has happened,” Clarke said.

This incident comes after a series of catalytic converter thefts on Quinnipiac campuses in October 2021 and February 2022. In addition, Hamden police reported that there have been 152 motor vehicle thefts in 2022 as of Sept. 30.

Reyes wrote in the Oct. 28, email that not resisting was the “right thing” for the victim to do and shared further safety tips with Quinnipiac students. He wrote that if students are approached by a carjacker, they should give up their vehicle and get away as quickly as possible and call authorities.

Reyes also encouraged students to keep their vehicle doors and windows locked at all times, travel in groups and to park in well-lit areas. Also, do not offer to help a stranger who says their car has broken down, Reyes wrote.

“Always trust your instincts,” Reyes wrote in the email. “If the situation doesn’t ‘feel right,’ get away.”

Students who live off campus said that they’ve had to take extra safety precautions due to the threat of carjackings.

Margaret Creve-Coeur, a sophomore health science studies major, is from Hamden and commutes to Quinnipiac. She said that crime has always been a concern for her while commuting to and from campus.

“I’ve always taken those precautions to make sure I carry pepper spray with me and to make sure I park in more light areas, to make sure I park as close as I can to the school,” Creve-Coeur said. “… I’m a girl, I’m walking to my car alone at night and my friends get really worried about me, so sometimes I’ll have a friend walk me to my car.”

Clarke also said that she carries pepper spray when walking to and from her vehicle and tries to avoid coming home late, but that it is difficult with her work schedule.

“I was definitely very concerned (about the carjacking),” Clarke said. “I was a little worried, my parents were super worried for me because I do come home a little bit late from work sometimes, I don’t get home until around 11, and there’s not a lot of lighting in my apartment complex.”

Students who live off campus said they carry pepper spray when walking to and from their cars. (Daniel Passapera)

Clarke said that she appreciates that university public safety is keeping off-campus students informed of crimes in their neighborhood, and said that residents should stay vigilant to keep themselves safe.

“I always lock my car the second I get inside and then when I’m leaving my car, always look to make sure that there’s noth

 ing suspicious around me and I’m all good to walk inside my building,” Clarke said. “I think the most important thing is really not leaving any valuables in your car.”

When it comes to being on campus, Creve-Coeur said she hopes that Public Safety will make sure that students get to their cars safely. She suggested that officers stand outside of the Public Safety booths to check ID and Q Cards more thoroughly.

“I get worried when I leave (my car) anywhere,” Creve-Coeur said. “I also know that if you go to the Hamden Plaza, there’s going to be a lot of security there… I know the town of Hamden is taking measures to make sure that people are safer.”

Reyes wrote that students who believe they are in danger of a carjacking should call 911 and Public Safety at 203-582-6200.