Georgetown campus and neighborhood are relatively safe, but crime isn’t unknown: 820 property crimes and 83 violent incidents occurred last year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
The most common type of crime on most college campuses is property theft. Based on our analysis of the weekly campus crime report, thefts of laptops from Lauinger Library and bikes from on-campus racks are the main targets of would-be Hilltop larcenists.
The biggest part of preventing petty theft: don’t leave your valuables unattended. Laptop theft dropped a little after the Department of Public Safety apprehended three persons suspected stealing laptops in Lau, but sporadic incidents continued into May.
As for bikes, remember: U-locks with steel cuffs are the best, and always lock the front wheel. Otherwise, thieves will strip your bicycle and leave its denuded corpse on the rack (like this, or this).
We also recommend students register their bikes. (Bicycle registration, which was required in D.C. until 2008, is potentially the only way to recover a stolen bicycle.)
Another common property crime against students is GOCard fraud. Merchants rarely check the picture I.D., so it’s easy to steal debit dollars. If your GOCard ever goes missing, deactivate it on the website.
Afte the jump, Vox tackles burglaries, street crime, and sexual assault.
Behind unlocked doors
Last fall, campus saw a string of burglaries, particularly in Village A. The situation improved after the University installed flood lights in the area, but burglaries and forced entries still occur. So even if you’re just going out for a bit, lock your doors. This is especially important advice to consider off-campus: burglaries are up 76 percent.
It’s a frightening but typical statistic for an American university: one in four women at Georgetown will be sexually assaulted before they graduate. Take note: sexual assault is not just forcible rape; it’s any unwanted contact of a sexual nature or intent.
Only two sexual assaults showed up in the DPS crime reports last school year (including an incident last fall where MPD spent most of its time blaming the victim). But sexual assault is also woefully underreported, most likely because most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone close to the person.
Meanwhile, the number of sexual assaults in the police district including Georgetown increased by 24 percent in 2010.
If you have been sexually assaulted, there are resources at your disposal. For one, the Counseling and Psychiatric Service has a full-time sexual assault counselor with whom you can make an appointment.
Out and about
Violent crime is rare in the the Georgetown neighborhood, although the number of incidents increased by 17 percent last year.
Even though armed robberies are down 22 percent, a robbery this summer and an attempted abduction last fall reveal that street crimes are still a concern for students. The upshot is that one should always remain alert when walking around the neighborhood (especially at night), travel with a few friends, and try to walk in high-traffic areas such as M and Prospect Streets.
The University provides a nighttime shuttle service in the neighborhood and an individual van escort service called SafeRides. You can read the Voice’s criticisms of the service here. That said, the shuttles are sometimes handy in a pinch; you can call for one at 202-784-RIDE (-7433).
To report an emergency, call DPS at (202) 687-4343 or MPD at 911. To call attention to other suspicious behavior, contact the DPS tip-line at (202) 687-2320. For medical emergencies, call the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service at 202-687-HELP (-4357).