Each student, at some point in his or her Georgetown career, has experienced the daunting task of walking home alone a little too late at night. Whether studying at the library at a late hour, or finding themselves suddenly split up from friends at a party, students take the risk and trudge home despite the safety tips, workshops and pamphlets that urge otherwise.
Although West Georgetown and Burleith are considered relatively safe neighborhoods, the walk home can end in disaster. In the past year, crime has risen sharply, according to reports from the Georgetown University Police Department. Sexual assault now ranks among the most common dangers facing students on campus.
In this dangerous new atmosphere, an obvious precaution for students is to avoid the walk home alone and always to make sure that they travel in groups. However, this solution becomes unfortunately unrealistic because of late nights in the library alone, friends who live in faraway campus areas, and an unfortunate pattern of SafeRides cancellations on especially icy days.
GUPD has recognized the reality of these dangers, and in a move to combat danger began to offer self-defense courses for women last semester. The classes had once been offered regularly starting in 2009, but were discontinued because of decreasing interest and a 12-hour training commitment for those overseeing the classes.
The program was expanded due to popular demand to include four-hour courses that focus on women’s self-defense, community self-defense and LBGTQ self-defense. The remaining classes offered this semester will take place March 18 and on April 8. It is reassuring, in the midst of a crime increase, to see that the GUPD not only understands the dangers our population faces but is also taking legitimate steps to give individuals the means to protect themselves.
We applaud these efforts and urge all students to take advantage of this opportunity, as one can never invest too much in safety.