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

Thousands Stolen in Friday Burglary

In the aftermath of a combined burglary and theft that occurred in a 36th Street residence Friday morning, the university is reminding students living off campus to remain attentive to safety measures – but many students are not sure if locking doors will be enough.

The four students living in the university-owned townhouse burglarized early Friday suffered a loss of about $5,000 to $6,000 worth of stolen property, which included a 42-inch flat-screen television, an X-Box console and games, DVDs, a laptop computer, an iPod and alcohol, according to one of the residents, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.

The student said he woke up at about 7:15 a.m. Friday and walked downstairs to find the lower level of the townhouse in disarray and many of his possessions missing. He woke up his housemates to alert them of the incident before calling the Department of Public Safety, and a DPS officer arrived within five to 10 minutes to file a report. According to the student, both DPS and the crime scene investigator sent to the scene by the Metropolitan Police Department seemed pessimistic about the prospect of locating the stolen items.

PD has taken the lead of the ongoing investigation with the cooperation of DPS, according to Georgetown Director of Media Relations Andy Pino.

The student said he believed the burglar entered the house through an unlocked back door sometime after the last housemate went to bed around 3:30 a.m. There were no signs of forced entry into the house.

The Office of Student Housing had changed the locks to the townhouse about a month prior to the incident due to confusion resulting from a roommate switch, and the residents had later discovered that they were unable to lock one of the rear doors after the change. The residents had not called housing services to request a solution to this problem. The student said that no one other than the residents of the house was aware of the malfunctioning door to his knowledge.

“We never really thought we were actually going to get robbed, and now it’s happened,” the student said. “I guess it makes me a little more aware.”

This burglary was the third incident reported last week. On March 15, DPS reported a burglary and an attempted burglary on the 1200 block of 37th Street.

Following this series of similar crimes, DPS and university officials are encouraging students, especially those living in townhouses, to remain aware of their surroundings and take safety precautions.

“We are urging everyone to lock their windows and doors at all times, even when they are home. We also want to ask everyone to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activities or individuals loitering around residence halls, apartments or townhouses to DPS,” Pino said.

Bobby Gregory (COL ’11), a 36th Street resident, said he is unimpressed with off-campus safety efforts. Though he has seen some “Securitas” cars patrol nearby, he said he does not believe that the university is doing enough to address crimes that have occurred in the neighborhood.

“Clearly there are people out there exploiting the fact that students new to having homes of their own occasionally do careless things, and the university needs to step up by both contracting more security and reminding students that if they are careless, they will pay the price,” Gregory said.

Residents of university-owned townhouses close to the burglarized residence asserted the importance of locking doors regularly.

“I don’t feel anything different [now] that a crime was committed next to my house, nor do I think our neighborhood is unsafe,” 36th Street resident Joshua Chang (GRD ’11) said. “This just means that we need to be more alert and cautious and be more consistent on locking our doors.”

Another 36th Street resident, Edward Jones (COL ’10), said that DPS officers performed preliminary safety inspections of student housing in the area at the beginning of the academic year to make sure that doors were locked, and knocked on doors to speak with students whose doors were left open.

The student living in the burglarized residence expressed satisfaction with both DPS and MPD in their handling of the situation. Both, he said, responded very quickly. He said that his only complaint was that the DPS officer handled many items in the house, which may have interfered with the accuracy of the fingerprint sampling conducted by the MPD investigator shortly afterward.

PD, Director of Resident Life Stephanie Lynch and Townhouses Area Coordinator Cory Peterson did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

**Editor’s Note:** This article was modified at 10:06 a.m. on March 23 to include three paragraphs not included initially due to a posting error.”

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