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Burglary in Village A as DPS increases presence
On Tuesday night, the Department of Public Safety reported the fifth burglary in Village A since Oct. 16.
The burglary, which resulted in a laptop theft, comes days after the Department of Public Safety and Residence Life announced new security measures in Village A.
Four of the five recent burglaries in Village A have followed the same pattern. In all cases, an intruder entered the Village A residence through a window or door that was left unlocked and stole a laptop.
In a separate incident on Oct. 30 at approximately 1:30 a.m., a man followed a Village A resident home, grabbed her arm, and tried to force his way into her apartment. The man fled after a male Georgetown student pulled him away. DPS reported the incident as an attempted forced burglary.
DPS Associate Director Joseph Smith and ResLife Director Stephanie Lynch first announced security measures to address the recent burglaries in a Nov. 5 email to Village A residents. The measures include increased perimeter patrols of Village A, enhanced lighting, and vehicle checkpoints near the Prospect Street and Canal Road entrances to campus. Students living in Village A said they have noticed the increased DPS presence.
“Before, I would see maybe one or two officers a night, but now I see at least five,” Pam Varago (COL ‘13) said. “They just patrol more than I’ve seen in the past.”
In a meeting for Village A residents held Monday, DPS and Res Life officials said that DPS has assigned officers specifically to Village A and has hired patrol officers from AlliedBarton Security Services to temporarily supplement on-campus coverage.
As part of the effort to secure Village A, officers have begun asking people they see around Village A to produce their GOCards. Some residents expressed doubt that this would be an effective measure.
“I’m not sure if having my GOCard checked before I go in Village A is keeping me necessarily safer,” said Jake Sticka (COL ‘13), who is also the incoming student commissioner on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E.
Several residents also pointed out that this measure does not account for the possibility that a student could be responsible for the burglaries.
DPS has also hired a reimbursable detail of Metropolitan Police Department officers to help secure campus. The officers will provide additional security at Georgetown’s periphery, an area in which DPS does not have jurisdiction, Vice President of University Safety Rocco Del Monaco said.
The University pays MPD directly for the reimbursable detail at the rate of $55.71 per hour per officer, according to MPD Office of Communications Director Gwendolyn Crump.
DPS is also coordinating changes to the physical plan of Village A.
“We’re adding additional lighting and also we’re increasing the utility of existing lighting,” Smith said.
According to Smith, University Facilities has been working to cut back plants that might obscure lighting. Large temporary lights have been installed in the parking lot of Lauinger Library. Del Monaco said that the process of installing permanent lights should begin by the end of November, with a focus on the central corridor that runs from Riverside Lounge to the Lauinger parking lot.
The long-term plans for Village A may be more comprehensive than an increase in lighting.
“Perhaps in the future, we may be looking at more of a gated community, in which we have fencing that protects Village A, in which we have controlled access with GOCards, and stations that have security officers,” Smith said during the meeting.
As the security changes were enacted over the last week, some Village A residents wondered how long the University would sustain the increase in DPS presence.
“I just don’t know how it’s going to end,” Varago said. “Are they going to keep it up or are they going to leave soon?”