Local crime dropped by nearly 10 percent in 2006, outpacing the marginal drop in crime that the Metropolitan Police Department reported throughout the District of Columbia.
MPD’s second district, which includes Georgetown, reported that burglaries decreased by 12 percent and thefts by 25 percent last year, although the number of homicides increased from zero to three. Violent and property crimes overall dropped 9 percent in the second district, while such crimes decreased by 2 percent across the city.
According to Department of Public Safety Director Darryl Harrison, crime rates in the university dipped correspondingly last year.
“Compared to , we also experienced a decline in reported offense,” Harrison said.
According to Harrison, there were nine off-campus assaults in the fall 2006 semester compared to 18 off-campus assaults in fall 2005. Total on-campus incidents dropped from 63 in fall 2005 to 49 last semester, he said.
Vice President for University Safety David Morrell said he was pleased with the drop in Georgetown crime. “Last semester was particularly quiet,” he said.
Harrison credited last semester’s overall reduction in on-campus crime to Georgetown students.
“Greater awareness on the part of our students played a key role in this decline,” Harrison said.
Morrell said that increased use of SafeRides and greater student vigilance were critical to this decrease.
“I would argue that students are using the shuttle more and more, as well as locking their doors,” Morrell said. “They are becoming a real contributor in the fight against crime here at Georgetown.”
But while statistics showed a drop in D.C. and Georgetown crime, some students said they did not feel that the campus and its surrounding area were any safer in 2006 compared to previous years.
“Crime in Georgetown is still a reality and it seems as in your face as ever,” Steve Zaorski (COL ’07) said.
Harrison noted that both local and city crime in 2006 were highest in December, but said that he does not believe last month’s spate of incidents is indicative of a trend.
“I think it is too early to attach any significance or draw conclusions,” Harrison said. “Incidents have a historical pattern of increasing during the holiday periods.”
According to Morrell, the Student Safety Advisory Board will launch an initiative later this month to increase communications between local police and students.
Shannon Mullen (COL ’08), an SSAB member, said that the board will meet with both MPD and students to convey the concerns and desires of both groups to one another.
“A problem we heard about was that MPD and students were not on the same page,” Mullen said. “We want to bring the two groups to the table [and] find a middle ground there.”
Mullen attributes the crime drop to heightened student awareness and increased DPS presence on- and off-campus as well as to orrell’s efforts.
“He doesn’t let anything slide, and that’s important,” Mullen said.