Chief Dooley and students address recent robbery incident on campus
Monica Zielinski – Managing Editor
Syllabus week just ended when students received an e-mail alerting them about an armed robbery incident Friday night on Sept. 4. Last week, Chief Dooley released a “Campus Safety Message” with tips on how students can keep themselves and their belongings safe.
Dooley addressed the incident in his e-mail as “not a random act” and said it’s being investigated by the Hamden Police Department and the university. According to Dooley’s message, the incident allegedly involved a student who met the subjects to buy drugs in front of an apartment complex at 190 Pine Rock Ave.
In an interview this week, the chief said the department’s goal is to keep everyone safe.
“It is a safe campus. We want to keep it that way. There will be incidents that happen from time to time but I’m proud of our record and I’m also proud of the fact that the community trusts us and is not afraid to give us a call,” said Dooley.
Despite the number of similar e-mails students have received informing them of crime on or around campus, some students do feel safe.
Senior business major, Shavaughn Bailey said he thinks campus safety has improved since his freshman year and the police department’s response to calls is faster.
“They have done a lot to invest in safety on campus. So I think they do a lot. Could it be better? Yes, but as of right now, it’s heading in the right direction,” said Bailey.
Channise Ortega, a senior liberal studies major, said “Yeah, I feel safe to a certain extent. I know there have been numerous robberies around Pine Rock Ave and the trail near the track and yeah, it is scary that someone might rob you during the night, but I do believe Southern is doing the best it can.”
Dooley said officers patrol by bike and car and he’s found that people are not afraid to report things.
“I always tell them that there’s nothing too trivial to report,” said Dooley. “I’ve taken this adage from Homeland Security and I think it works, if you see something, say something and I think it does work for people.
Additionally, the department installed additionally security cameras and emergency phones. Students are urged to use the campus shuttle late at night or request an escort through Owl Watch or the police department.
Junior communication disorders major, Amanda Hasiotis, is a commuter and said she feels pretty safe. When she received the e-mail about the armed robbery, she said she was concerned, but “things happen and you have to deal with it and just know your surroundings and be safe.”
As a general rule, Dooley said he tells students to be aware of their surroundings, walk in well-lit areas with other people and not be totally absorbed with loud music through earbuds or texting while walking—making them an easy target.
“Studies will show that people who are situationally aware and trust their instincts are generally safer,” said Dooley.
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor