Two Georgetown students were robbed Monday in the latest in a series of holdups near campus.
Katherine Robinson (COL ’06) and Pooja Jotwani (SFS ’05) were walking southbound on 35th Street between Volta and Q Streets early Monday morning when a man approached them from behind and demanded money.
“This guy came up out of nowhere on Katherine’s side and asked us for all our cash,” Jotwani said. “We gave him what he asked for and then he turned and ran away.”
Robinson said the man displayed a switchblade style knife as they gave him their money. Neither student was injured during the robbery.
The suspect in the Monday incident was described in the DPS report as a black male approximately six feet tall with a dark complexion, goatee and dreadlocks. He was wearing a white t-shirt with a black jacket, shoes and pants.
According to a Metropolitan Police Department report released Tuesday, more than $200 was stolen from the victims before the man fled northbound on 35th Street.
Both women said the crime took place so quickly that they barely had time to react.
“It was really quick and really scary and so sudden,” Jotwani said. “My gut instinct was just to give him the cash and get out of there as soon as possible.”
Jotwani and Robinson had harsh words for MPD’s initial response to the crime. After the robbery they said they saw an MPD police car passing by and they yelled at the officer inside for help.
“It was driving toward campus and its windows were rolled down as we were telling him we needed help,” Jotwani said. “The car slowed down for a minute then just sped up and drove away.”
The women immediately returned to campus and reported the incident to the Department of Public Safety. MPD also responded to the scene and an officer took a report.
DPS informed the Georgetown community of the incident in a Tuesday evening e-mail. Jotwani and Robinson said the robbery took place at 2:30 a.m.
The incident has left the victims deeply shaken and concerned for their safety near campus, but both women say they are happy to have escaped without injury.
“It could have been so much worse but now I’m paranoid about walking off campus,” Robinson said. “I always thought I’d be OK if I was with at least one other person, but that obviously was not the case this time.”
The Monday robbery was the sixth in a series of attacks near the main campus since the beginning of the school year.
In a Thursday interview David Morrell, vice president for university safety, characterized the recent incident as the latest in a “crime wave” striking the Georgetown community.
“I would be comfortable saying that, because if you compare it to the beginning of last year, we had nowhere near the number of crimes we’re dealing with now,” Morrell said. “We are struggling to understand what is causing this spike in street crime.”
Morrell said the university is taking concrete steps to deal with violence near campus.
He cited recent security improvements at the LXR residence hall and increased DPS patrols in the Prospect Street area, as ways Georgetown is addressing student concerns about crime.