Security Stepped Up At Trinity After Increase In Crime
Beating of Chris Kenny Unsolved
By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY
August 31, 2012
HARTFORD — As Sue Rattner helped her daughter move into her dorm room at Trinity College on Thursday, she noticed something different.
"This is my third child at Trinity, and this is the first time I've seen so many campus safety cars and so many Hartford police around," she said.
Within 30 minutes that afternoon, two campus safety cars, two city patrol cars and a campus safety shuttle could be seen on Summit Street, which runs along the western edge of campus. Elsewhere were campus safety staff members on bikes and Hartford officers on horseback.
Some of the safety measures were in place because Thursday was freshman convocation day. But others were part of an effort to make the campus safer after an increase in crimes committed against students in the past year, including a well-publicized attack that left a student with a broken jaw, rib and cheekbone.
The college increased security staff, broadened its hours of coverage and made other changes in the last five months.
Shortly after the March 4 assault on sophomore Christopher Kenny, the college installed a surveillance camera at the intersection where the attack happened, spokeswoman Michele Jacklin said. It also hired eight workers from a private security company, AlliedBarton, to supplement its own security staff.
Trinity hired five more campus security officers, too — a change that was in the works before the March attack.
The school also increased the number of campus safety officers who patrol on bicycle from two to eight. The bike officers patrol later, until 3 a.m., and wear new, high-visibility uniforms, said Jacklin, who often sees them ride by her office window.
"I never saw them before, because there were only two and they didn't wear these bright yellow uniforms," she said.
Six campus safety officers attended college safety classes at Fairfield University over the summer, Jacklin said.
"So, we are trying to strengthen and beef up our security," she said.
Studying everything from lighting to landscaping, a firm has recommended ways to enhance campus safety. Its report — which was commissioned before the assault — has not been made public; the board of trustees is expected to discuss the recommendations of the company, Margolis Healy & Associates, at its October meeting, Jacklin said.
A new director of public safety will oversee the changes. Francisco Ortiz, a former New Haven police chief who also headed up security at Yale University, started his job Aug. 27.
Ortiz may face challenges. In the past year, Trinity has had an uptick in crime, some of which has been brazen. Crimes ranged from car break-ins to the daylight robbery of a student at knifepoint.
By all accounts, the beating of Kenny was the most serious.
Between 2 and 3 a.m. on March 4, a dark car pulled up next to him and his friend, fellow sophomore Tim Suspenski, as they walked near the intersection of Allen Place and Summit Street. Five people got out, fought with and started kicking Kenny in the head, witnesses told police. They were described as three white women and two white men in their 20s.
There have been no arrests in the case, which remains open, Lt. Brian Foley said Friday. He wouldn't comment on whether police have suspects.
Both Kenny and Suspenski are enrolled for their junior year, Jacklin said. Classes start Tuesday.
Also returning is Kate Malakoff of Virginia, Rattner's daughter. She was studying in Paris at the time of the assault.
"It's a little concerning, what went on here," Rattner said. Still, she brought Malakoff back for her senior year.
Helping Malakoff balance a small refrigerator and microwave on a dolly, Rattner said, "It's her last year. So many good schools are in urban areas. We love Trinity."
Asked how she feels about the security changes she noticed, Rattner said, "As a mother, much better."
A $10,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the assault. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Brandon O'Brien in the department's Major Crimes Division at 860-757-4089. Anonymous, confidential tips may be submitted by phone at Hartford Crime Stoppers, 860-722-8477 (TIPS).
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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