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Student vandalism impacts town
Groups of Hamden residents are unhappy with the behavior of some students and the recent destruction of mailboxes. The number of reports of off-campus complaints this year has increased, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger.
On the evening of Oct. 14, six mailboxes were destroyed along Sherman Avenue, located off New Road. Although nothing is confirmed on who these students are, one Hamden resident said he believes there are a handful of very clueless students.
“Recently it seems like it has gotten a little worse,” said Jeff Kadin, a Hamden resident for the past eight years. He says the damage and vandalism occur after midnight, irritating his dog and waking his family.
Kadin explained that small lights in close proximity to his front door were toyed with one night when his 23-year-old daughter was home alone. Kadin expressed concern that students are getting so close to his property.
“That’s what is different they are getting bolder, doing more damage and getting closer to the houses,” Kadin said.
He understands students want to go out and have a good time; however, he wishes students would be more respectful when they are noisy within the Hamden neighborhoods.
“If you have to get your kid up for daycare at 7 a.m. on Friday, having Quinnipiac students having a party on Thursday night next door is not conducive,” Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson said. “You’re off-campus because you feel like you are responsible enough to be off-campus and that responsibility carries certain requirements.”
Another resident, Jairo Guidet, complains of being woken up after midnight and seeing students throw beer cans and be rowdy on residential property.
“I think [Quinnipiac University] should talk to the kids and explain the damage they do,” Guidet said.
Some residents, however, including some students living on New Road, did not express many complaints about these problems, but do think students should be more respectful.
“I personally haven’t seen any mailboxes being destroyed, but it is messed up that people are doing that,” senior Katie Williams said. “I just think that students should be more mature to know that they shouldn’t be doing that to other people’s property.”
Hamden resident Bruce Crocker said that his mailbox has been touched numerous times, but the university has come and fixed them right away.
“We have no problems really,” Crocker said. “The only thing we have problems with, and we don’t know if it is Quinnipiac or high school students, is the mailboxes.”
A student on New Road had a similar problem with his mailbox.
“I thought that I did it backing up one day but then I went out the next day it was ripped over, and turned out of the ground,” senior Mike Stephenson said. “I mean, it sucks, but there is nothing really I can do about it.” He too said Quinnipiac fixed the mailbox within a few days.
The Hamden Police Department were unavailable for comment.
Public Safety said they are doing the best they can to resolve the issue. There is a community concerns hotline that has been in effect for nearly 10 years that covers a number of complaints ranging from noise complaints to property vandalism.
The hotline is available to Hamden residents to go to when they have any complaints about students off campus.
“Our students were living in and among the residents of Hamden,” Barger said. “In being good neighbors there are a number of things that we wanted to do.”
However, Barger said the university cannot do it all. Mayor Jackson encourages students living off campus to make good relations with Hamden residents they are living in close proximity with.
One thing students could do to be successful with neighbors is to get to know them, Jackson said.
“If you’re doing something that is problematic, the neighbors should be able to say, ‘Hey Joe, John, Jennifer, can you help me out here? I’ve got to get up in the morning,’ and the students should be respectful of that,” Jackson said.
In addition, there are a variety of precautions that are taken for the different students off campus.
Off-campus housing owned by Quinnipiac must follow the same rules as the students living on campus. The same rules and the same student handbook govern those off-campus houses, according to Barger.
In 2006 a court decision, it was decided all Quinnipiac students must be held to the same rules and regulations as they were exposed to on campus.
“If you go back to the student handbook, even if you are out in the community, you are still a Quinnipiac student, so you have to live by all of the same rules and regulations you find in the student handbook,” Barger said.
Other than the residents themselves calling the Hamden Police Department, they will only be called if Public Safety needs assistance.
If there is a house Quinnipiac does not own but have students leasing, then it is up to the residents that complained. Hamden Police and the hotline may receive a call, and they will both respond depending on who is called first.
“The police will do whatever they need to do and we will do whatever we need to do,” Barger said.