Reported cases of fondling on Georgetown’s main campus increased threefold from four in 2015 to 12 in 2016 and reported burglary cases increased from 31 in 2015 to 47 in 2016, according to the 2017 Annual Security Report released Sept. 29 by the Georgetown University Police Department.
In addition, three arsons were reported on campus in 2016. Until then, no arsons had been reported since 2012. Disciplinary referrals for alcohol increased by 28 percent, or 63 incidents, from 2015 to 2016.
The report, published each year in early October, provides crime statistics from the previous three years and offers information and resources on crime prevention for each of Georgetown University’s six campuses in Washington, D.C., Qatar, Italy and the United Kingdom.
According to GUPD Chief Jay Gruber, crime rates at Georgetown tend to stay consistently low overall — most year-to-year changes are not statistically significant.
“The good thing about Georgetown is crimes are very, very low,” Gruber said. “It’s difficult to see trends or any statistically significant increases or decreases at this point in time.”
Gruber said that the increased number of reported fondling crimes might not reflect an increase in crime, but rather an increase in reporting due to expanded sexual assault awareness on campus.
“Because of all of the work that has been done by the Title IX office and by the sexual assault task force based on the recommendations, there may be an increase in reporting by survivors of sexual assault,” Gruber said.
Georgetown University Student Association President Kamar Mack (COL ’19) said that GUSA is working to encourage students to report crimes to GUPD.
“One of our most important goals is making sure that there’s increased reporting because a lot of the time, these incidents go unreported,” Mack said.
Mack also said that GUSA is working both in the short and long term to improve student safety on campus, citing the university’s LiveSafe app as the most useful safety resource for students.
“The LiveSafe app is the number one most important resource that we want to make sure all students know about and know how to use because it integrates SafeRides, SafeWalks and a lot of the reporting features that exist within Georgetown,” Mack said.
GUSA Sexual Assault and Student Safety Chair Nina Young (SFS ’19) said that her office focuses on reducing students’ risk of falling victim to a crime and helping students part of marginalized groups on campus who may not be comfortable reporting crimes to GUPD.
Young also said it is important for students to be cognizant of difficulties facing sexual crime survivors when spreading awareness and promoting action.
“A big problem that we deal with is finding the proper line between awareness and oversaturating our students with information about sexual assault,” Young said. “We don’t want our awareness campaigns to be so wide that we’re triggering a lot of the survivors that are still here. We want to try to be sensitive to them.”
Gruber said that GUPD is concerned about the increase in reported alcohol crimes because overuse of alcohol can lead to other crimes.
“One of the big concerns that we have about alcohol use and overuse is that when a person becomes intoxicated, they could be more likely to be to be victims of a crime,” Gruber said.
Although the 2016 data did not show an increase in hate crimes, Gruber said that next year’s report may reflect the recent uptick in crimes targeting racial, religious or sexual orientation minority groups on campus.
“Georgetown is reflective of what is going on in the country,” Gruber said. “We are not immune.”