Prefrosh Preview: Crime at Georgetown
Vox is happy to report that, in general, Georgetown feels like a very safe place, and the stats back this up. A Daily Beast ranking of the most dangerous college campuses from 2010 listed Georgetown 316 out of the 458 largest colleges in America. A typical year at Georgetown is free from run-ins with criminals or otherwise sketchy encounters, and the neighborhood seems safe and well-protected.
Despite Georgetown’s safe atmosphere, Washington, D.C. as a whole still has a great deal of crime and some of the worst neighborhoods in America, especially in Southeast D.C. While the city has seen steady improvement over the past couple decades, it is still important to remember to practice proper street-smarts when traveling in the District, particularly outside of Georgetown. Students should avoid traveling alone at night and know travel plans before heading out.
The relatively small number of crimes that do take place in Georgetown occur in many forms, from outright criminal activities such as robberies and thefts, to more college-related offenses like students caught with weed, urinating in public, and the classic: drunk and disorderly conduct.
The majority of crimes around Georgetown, however, are minor thefts of unattended property. Many of these thefts happen when students in study locations leave their stuff behind when they go to the bathroom or take a snack break. As a result, laptops are one of the most frequently stolen items on campus. According to Vox‘s Campus Crime Watch, at least 38 laptops were stolen during the 2012-2013 academic year.
A total of 12 laptops were stolen last November, prompting the Department of Public Safety to launch a laptop safety campaign. In addition to offering laptop protection software, DPS urged students never to leave items unattended in public places because they can and will be taken.
The other common crime in Georgetown is robberies of unlocked rooms or houses. Like thefts of unattended items, robberies in Georgetown usually never involve force or breaking and entering. Most of the time, robberies are due to careless students who don’t lock their rooms or apartments before heading out for a while, and an opportunistic thief takes advantage.
Common sense is the best protection from the most common forms of crime in Georgetown.
Extremely serious crimes, such as armed robbery, sexual assault, and murder, are rare, although it is hard to give exact numbers for sexual assaults, as many of these incidences are not made public. Georgetown’s policy on dealing with sexual assault, however, has come under criticism from many. GUSA made an effort last spring to reform sexual assault policy, but New Student Orientation will still not have a mandatory sexual assault workshop.
Like most other colleges, Georgetown has a blue light system that it loves to show off to prospective students on tours. Ideally, the blue lights give students who feel threatened a way to call for immediate police assistance, but, unfortunately, an article from the Voice last spring shows that the Georgetown blue lights may not be properly maintained. One person reported testing a blue light firsthand, but no police came to the call.
One of the most notable crimes from the past year is the vandalization of Dahlgren Chapel, during which Jesus’ hand was knocked off of a crucifix. There was also an incident at Vital Vittles when two individuals were apprehended by DPS officers after attempting to steal from the grocery store.
Despite its infamy for breaking up parties and otherwise ruining students’ fun, DPS should be commended for its efforts to protect Georgetown from criminals. Students who need to report a crime can visit DPS’s office at the bottom of Village C West or they can call 202-687-4343.