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

Shooting Hits Home

When Hoyas receive a security e-mail, they often shrug it off under the assumption that something like that could never happen to them. This past weekend’s shooting, however, struck close to the hearts of many students and served as a reminder that any one of us could have been the victim of a violent, potentially deadly crime.

This mugging occurred not in the early hours of the morning, but at 10:30 p.m. – a perfectly reasonable hour to be walking outside. It happened not to one naive student walking alone, but to a group of three students. It happened not on Prospect Street or at the fringes of Burleith, but on 33rd Street.

Most upsetting about the mugging is that Metropolitan Police Department forces had been on and near campus in unusually large numbers over the weekend, busting parties and arresting approximately 22 people for mindless drunken infractions while allowing the armed criminals who truly endangered the community to fly under the radar.

We do feel bad for Georgetown’s residents. They continue to be pestered by students’ raucous parties on the weekends. We continue to be appalled by the imbecilic behavior of drunken Georgetown students who manage to get themselves arrested week after week for public urination and open container violations.

On the other hand, the blatant targeting of Georgetown students by MPD is unfair. It is the complaints of the residents that have likely led MPD to lose sight of its priorities and begin serving Georgetown lobbyists before protecting the community as a whole.

Perhaps the most insulting installment is the accusatory reaction of MPD Lt. Felicia Lucas, who insensitively placed the onus of blame on Georgetown students by alleging that if MPD officers did not have to deal with parties, they would be better able to patrol the streets and protect students.

We all agree that the more serious problem is not college students having parties, but the threat of violent crime. MPD should take the steps necessary to address serious problems rather than squander its resources on keeping college students from being college students. It is disheartening to hear an MPD lieutenant implying that Georgetown students are preventing police officers from doing their job and keeping their priorities straight; it is frightening to see MPD use student safety as a bargaining chip to get students to tone down their behavior on the weekends.

What can students do then? As this most recent incident shows, following the typical suggestions issued by the Department of Public Safety about staying alert and not walking alone or in the early morning do not necessarily guarantee student safety.

As we have suggested on numerous occasions, the university must install working emergency call boxes and fight for the installation of more streetlights in dangerous, unlit areas off campus. These steps would go a long way in increasing safety for students.

Administrators, including DPS Director Darryl Harrison, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord and Vice President for University Safety Dave Morrell, should be praised for hosting a town hall meeting on Wednesday night during which students were able to voice their safety concerns. The Student Safety Advisory Board should also be recognized for expanding the SafeRides shuttle program by creating routes with fixed stops where students can be picked up at night.

One can only hope that MPD learns that addressing armed robberies should be prioritized over meeting an arrest quota of Georgetown students.

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