GUPD cameras spot suspects involved in recent burglaries
Thanks to the University’s cameras, the Georgetown University Police Department has suspects related to the burglaries in White Gravenor and the ICC this past Tuesday and Wednesday. During a routine camera-based patrol of the bike racks by Lauinger Library, the suspects were identified from CCTV footage analyzed after the ICC and White Gravenor burglaries. The suspects have been taken in and interviewed by GUPD’s Criminal Investigation Unit.
In an interview with Vox, GUPD Chief Jay Gruber declined to confirm an exact number of suspects, although he did say they were not members of the Georgetown community.
“The [crimes] in ICC were definitely connected, and we believe the one in White Gravenor was connected,” Gruber said. “We’re using CCTV [closed circuit television] evidence and interviews and different tools to nail down the suspects.” According to Gruber, the suspects have a history of burglary.
Gruber also said GUPD has suspects related to burglaries in residence halls from the past few weeks, and has identified a different suspect in the August 15 burglary in Alumni Square. “We’ve been pretty successful in solving these crimes, but it’s very, very difficult to prevent them,” Gruber said.
Overall, 2014 has seen the highest number of thefts of the past three years. To date, there have been 53 thefts this year, compared to 48 in all of 2013 and 38 in all of 2012. A theft is when something is stolen in a public place, whereas a burglary means a criminal accesses a private space. So far there have been 10 burglaries this year, after 21 in 2013 and 13 during 2012.
“It’s trending up, and we’ll probably end someplace close to 2013,” Gruber said, adding “hopefully a little bit less.” Rarely do these crimes involve breaking into a secure space, and are mainly crimes of opportunity, with doors left unlocked or bikes left unsecured. “I would say well over 75 percent of all burglaries on campus are from unlocked residence hall doors,” Gruber said.
Perhaps future cases will be aided by coming improvements to Georgetown’s security camera system. When Gruber was Assistant Chief of Police at the University of Maryland, he was a driving force in updating College Park’s security system.
Last year, Georgetown gave Gruber $300,000 to update and improve the CCTV system. Over the next several weeks, members of Gruber’s IT unit and the consulting firm M2H Protection will begin assessing individual cameras and repair needs.
“We’re going to spend the money down, making those repairs. That could mean replacing the camera, or a very simple thing like a network cable is bad,” Gruber said. While Gruber declined to give an exact number of cameras which currently don’t work, he would say that it was “too high for [his] liking.”
Photo: Georgetown University