Prefrosh Preview: Crime and safety in Georgetown
One of the most underrated perks of living in Georgetown is its relative safety and seclusion from a lot of the other crime in D.C. While most students don’t have anything stolen from them in a typical year of school, crime does exist in Georgetown, and it is important to know the forms it takes and what can be done to prevent it.
As nice as Georgetown is, the city as a whole has some bad neighborhoods that should be avoided if possible. Most of those areas are in the Southeast wards of the city. The District of 2014 is a far cry from its 1995 predecessor, however. Violent crime is half of what it once was. Still, anyone travelling outside of Georgetown at night should not go alone and should know their travel plans before heading out.
In Georgetown, the vast majority of reported crimes are thefts of unattended items. Dozens of times per month, a student who is out studying somewhere will leave his or her laptop or other personal item behind for a bit, and someone takes it. Do not leave any item, especially a laptop (literally the most expensive and important item a typical student owns) alone, even for a few minutes. If you really need to save a study spot for a bathroom break, leave a notebook and a textbook but bring the laptop along in your bag.
The other major way students have their things stolen is by leaving doors to rooms or houses unlocked. This happens especially to townhouses, but freshmen dorms are not safe from this type of crime. Always lock your door if you’re the last one out of your room. Vox knows a few people who lost basically all of their stuff after a break-in, and locking the door would have prevented all of it.
Another major form of crime in Georgetown, and the one that has been getting the most attention from campus activists in the past few years, is sexual assault. Many groups and student leaders have embraced consent culture and have pushed for other students to do the same.
This past winter, the administration added an alcohol amnesty clause to the Student Code of Conduct, which gives victims of sexual assault amnesty from alcohol violations if they report their assault for help. GUSA is currently pushing for that policy to be expanded to include amnesty from drug violations. Another big step forward for Georgetown was the decision to include a mandatory sexual assault workshop for this year’s New Student Orientation.
Student Health Services, located in Village C, can provide sexual assault survivors with the help and resources needed to overcome a variety of issues in the wake of a sexual assault.
For more on sexual assault at Georgetown, check out the Voice‘s feature on it from this spring.
Other violent crimes in Georgetown, like assault and armed robbery, are, fortunately, not nearly as common. Anyone in need of emergency aid can hit one of the campus’ blue lights that the school loves to show off on tours. But try using a cell phone first, if possible, because a Voice news article from Spring 2013 showed that the campus’ blue light system might not work reliably.
Anyone who has an emergency or needs to report a crime can visit GUPD’s (most students still call them DPS) office under the Village C stairs or call 202-687-4343.