University officials say Georgetown is taking proactive steps to keep campus safe and prevent future thefts in the wake of a Nov. 9 burglary in Copley Hall that left a Department of Public Safety officer injured and a resident assistant missing more than $100.
David Morrell, vice president for university safety, estimated onday that at least six thefts and burglaries have taken place in Copley and multiple other thefts have occurred at LXR and Village A during the semester. He said, however, that DPS is responding to the situation appropriately.
“We think that what’s happened is the new security procedures in LXR have displaced thieves and sent them on campus,” he said. “I know DPS has intensified patrols around Copley, primarily in the nighttime.
In October, Georgetown instituted new security procedures at LXR including limiting access points to the building and increasing patrols around the area.
Morrell said the university is reminding students to keep their doors locked and not to prop outside doors open. Additionally, the department’s new emphasis on Copley should decrease crime in the area, he said.
On Nov. 9 at 8:35 a.m., an intruder entered a student resident assistant’s unlocked room as the student was in his bathroom. When the suspect was confronted he said he was “looking for Jermaine,” according to a Metropolitan Police Department report. The student’s girlfriend arrived and contacted DPS, but when an officer responded, the suspect ran away and the officer injured himself in the pursuit. Morrell said the suspect probably gained entrance to Copley through a propped outside door.
By Sunday, officials had placed signs on some doors leading outside of Copley urging students to never prop doors open.
“When you prop this door open, you put all Copley residents in danger,” one sign read.
Although Morrell said that the majority of burglaries have occurred because students left their dorm room doors unlocked, some burglary victims said they were sure they had locked their doors and did not know how a burglar could have entered their rooms.
J.P. Abello (COL ’07) said more than $100 was charged to his credit card after it was stolen last week. He filed a report with DPS on Thursday.
“I’m pretty sure my door was locked. It does automatically,” he said.
Emilyn Alignay (NHS ’07) said her door was also locked Nov. 1 when someone entered her room and stole credit cards and $45 in cash. She said that $1,200 had been charged to her credit cards, mostly at baby stores like Baby Gap.
“I don’t feel as safe as I did when I first moved in here, although I do still feel safe in Copley,” she said.
In a broadcast e-mail sent to Copley residents Saturday, Copley Hall director Dmitry Vovchuk said that residence life staff was doing whatever it could to keep students safe.
“Throughout the last few months, your RAs and I have discussed this situation and have taken steps to address the problem by providing you with information, working with DPS, conducting rounds in the building and constantly trying to find more ways to increase safety and awareness,” he said in the e-mail. “Regretfully, too many of our neighbors have lost property, money and a sense of security in our home.”
Vovchuk said that the university was organizing several meetings to address student concerns Tuesday night.
In an attachment to the e-mail, the victim of the Nov. 9 burglary described the incident and his reaction to it.
Saying that he was “frustrated when students are robbed, attacked and accosted by random people outside of our community,” the student urged others to never prop open doors.
“In the end understand that propping doors for your convenience puts me at risk, puts your peers at risk and puts others at risk if it continues to happen,” he said.