Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Sexual Assault Reported in Burleith

An unknown suspect sexually assaulted a Burleith resident on the 3800 block of S Street on Sunday morning, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

A white male allegedly broke into the Burleith house between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. and began sexually assaulting the sleeping female victim, who is not a Georgetown student. When the victim woke and screamed, the suspect fled the scene, according to MPD Lt. John Hedgecock.

The victim described the suspect as being in his mid-20s, of average build, with brown hair and wearing a blue shirt, Hedgecock said.

PD and the Georgetown Department of Public Safety are taking additional security measures in light of the incident.

PD is responding by changing and intensifying patrols in the area.

“Detectives will alter some things, and there will be an increased police presence in that area,” Hedgecock said at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E meeting on Monday night.

Hedgecock said MPD’s efforts have been aided by DPS, which is increasing patrols to help prevent further incidents.

“[DPS] has anticipated that there would be an uptick in criminality with the advent of the new academic year and has prepared for it with an increase in patrol coverage as well as crime prevention efforts,” DPS Associate Director Joseph Smith said in an e-mail. “Such incidents as these are a stark reminder to our students, faculty and staff that we all must follow the best practices in personal safety and to report suspicious activity to DPS.”

While the victim was not a student, students in the area are at similar risk if they do not take safety precautions, according to Hedgecock.

“This was a preventable crime. Students have to lock their doors and protect themselves by staying in groups,” Hedgecock said. “Lots of these folks are brand-new at living on their own. Georgetown is a wonderful place, but it is in a big city and is prone to the dangers of a big city.”

DPS made similar recommendations.

“It has become something of a mantra at safety lectures, but it bears repeating: Lock your doors and windows; walk to and from campus in groups, particularly late at night; walk in lighted areas and avoid alleyways; report suspicious persons to the police; call for SafeRides or security escorts,” Smith said. “Practice good situational awareness, and be quick to exit a perceived danger zone and get help.”

A string of incidents similar to Sunday’s sexual assault, in which male suspects entered residences on and near campus and attempted to sexually assault sleeping females, were reported in the spring and summer of 2009. An analysis by THE HOYA in April 2009 traced a pattern of similar break-ins as far back as 2005.

Some students living in Burleith said reports of the assault did not make them feel less secure.

“I don’t really feel any less safe than before,” Doria Killian (COL ’11) said. “Worrying about it would be pointless and just serve to drive me crazy rather than doing anything proactive.”

“[I] haven’t really thought about it much, to be honest. It has happened too many times over my three years here for it to get much of a reaction,” said James Blaney (COL ’11), who also lives in Burleith. “I already lock the doors, so there’s not much more to be done.”

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