Comparison of campus safety reveals safest university


Jason EdwardsContributor

Yale and Southern are just blocks apart, yet a recently published SafeHome.org study ranked Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University as the least and most safe college campuses in the state, respectfully.

“I feel as if Yale students are a little more susceptible to that because they might be a little naïve about living in the city,” said English education major Cesar Gonzalez, a senior. Gonzalez, who grew up witnessing crime in New Haven, said those at Yale University are more vulnerable to crime because of their proximity to downtown New Haven.

“Southern is more secluded,” said Gonzalez. “It’s in Westville, so it isn’t integrated with New Haven proper.”

According to data from 2017, Yale University reported to have a violent crime rate of 1.85 out of a 1,000 students, while Southern has a violent crime rate of 0.49 out of a 1,000 students. Southern students like secondary education major Willan Silva, a junior and psychology major Katelynn Gradia, a junior said they believe the university attracts less attention than Yale does.

“People may be drawn to Yale more, because it’s more prestigious,” said Silva. “Around Southern you probably wouldn’t see [crimes such as theft and burglary] as much.”

“We see less of it,” said Gradia. “So, it definitely depends on the location.”

Chief of university police, Joseph Dooley said he does not know the methodology used in the SafeHome.org study, but accredits Yale and its police unit. “We’re an open campus,” said Dooley. “I think it had to do with strategic policing and engaging in the community — it’s what helps us keep the campus safe and everyone informed.”

The study was released at about the same time as the university released its Clery Act Report last month, an annual publication by campus police that details campus crime statistics. The Clery Report is federally mandated annual publication in which colleges and universities police detail campus crime statistics. Dooley said it is about transparency when delivering statistics pertaining to crimes such as hate violence and discrimination.

According to Yale’s office of institutional research, they serve well over 20,000 students and staff, and has a police unit of 93 officers. During Bertolino’s recent State of the University Address, he reported 9,817 undergraduate students and a police unit consisting of 27 officers.

“We can define our campus,” said Dooley, who said there is a lack of geographic boundaries when it comes to the relationship between Yale’s campus and downtown New Haven.

Layla Nassar, a graduate student at Yale, said her university has something that Southern lacks — urban prominence.

“We’re in the city of New Haven,” said Nassar. “It is hard to make a comparison between two very different campuses and two very different climates.”

Dooley said his department has good police officers and stresses community policing with the students and staff he serves, citing an app called LiveSafe, where issues can be reported directly to the Southern police.

“Our attitude is we get out to the forefront and talk,” said Dooley. “The one thing I’ve always felt since I’ve been here is that the Southern community, students especially, are really receptive to us.”

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