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

Resident Complaints Decreased, MPD Says

OFF-CAMPUS LIFE Resident Complaints Decreased, MPD Says Students, ANC, University To Credit For Improvements, According To Wagner By Sean West Special to The Hoya

The last 12 months have seen a dramatic decrease in unruly behavior complaints and underage drinking arrests in the Georgetown and Burleith neighborhoods, according to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Metropolitan Police Department. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Justin Wagner (COL ’03) said heightened consciousness by students, actions by the ANC, university administration policies and stronger police enforcement have contributed to the decrease.

“We’ve seen a significant reduction in complaints of disorderly conduct and rowdiness in Burleith and areas surrounding the Georgetown campus,” Lieutenant Brian Bray of MPD said. Bray was commended earlier this year by the ANC for his contributions to the 15 percent reduction in unruly behavior complaints within his Georgetown neighborhood patrol area.

“I am surprised with the dramatic decrease from October of last year to now,” Bray said. “Before we were getting 10 to 12 calls [from residents] a weekend, now we get about one.”

According to a report by the Georgetown Off Campus Student Life Hotline there have been four weeks during spring semester with zero confirmed incidents reported.

“Maybe students are going the extra step to be respectful to their neighbors,” Bray said. He also credited Wagner’s attempts at getting the word out to students.

“[Wagner] put a lot of info out there – informing students about the laws,” he said.

Ed Emes, a property owner on Prospect Street and in Burleith agreed.

“It’s been my experience that both ANC commissioners have helped give students a feeling of responsibility,” he said. “My personal experience is that the situation has gotten better.”

Wagner said “this sharp decrease in incidents and arrests reflects a new behavior in Georgetown where students and residents have become more respectful of each other in the community.” As chair of the public safety committee Wagner has played a key role in ANC policies aimed at fostering dialogue between the community and students. “Improving the relationship between students and residents has been the number one priority of my term on the ANC,” he said. He added, however that the credit really goes “to the Georgetown University student body”for its effort in working with the community, administration, and law enforcement. Wagner cited the Burleith Citizens Association newsletter as a “neighborhood testimonial” to the improvement with its noting of less noise and trash and a quality of life improvement as evidence of the progress.

Wagner also cited the university’s “shift toward moving activities involving alcohol on campus, which improves safety of students and the quality of life on campus.”

Noting that he believes that alcohol will always be present in a college atmosphere, Wagner said that activities such as student bartender night allow the university to handle alcohol-related problems without affecting neighbors. By internalizing the problem, the university shows that it cares enough about the community to monitor alcohol related activities on its own, according to Wagner.

ANC Commissioner Justin Kopa (COL ’03) said that in the past community residents tried to limit the number of students living in the area surrounding campus, but are now instead tying to mediate problems rather than trying to force students out.

“There has been an enormous growth over the past year on both the students’ part and the neighbors’ part and [this is] a great sign of growth in our community that people are really making the effort . and it seems as though it’s paying off,” Kopa said. He continued, saying that students have been working hard with the univeristy to recognize problems and that this has resulted in a general heightened sense of awareness among students that they can live in a residential community without disturbing non-student residents.

The decrease in underage drinking arrests at local bars reflects an increase in enforcement and recognition of laws by students, Wagner said. The increased enforcement of underage drinking laws at bars on and around M Street by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has made students more aware that there are harsh penalties for breaking the law, he said. Fewer students are willing to try to drink while underage once they have seen that law enforcement is serious about curbing underage drinking, he added.

Wagner also discussed actions of the ANC in working toward improving enforcement, noting that the popular local bars Champs and Rhino have agreed to voluntary limits on “all you can drink” specials and enhanced enforcement against underage drinking.

Bray suggested that further improvements can still be made by having vans transport students back from bars and creating an on-campus pub.

– Hoya Staff Writer Arianne Aryanpur contributed to this article.

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