On Nov. 16, Jay Gruber, Georgetown University Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, emailed the student body in response to a series of violent terrorist attacks around the world, as well as threats on Washington, D.C. from the group known as the Islamic State. Gruber noted that there would be increased visibility of university police on campus and advised students to remain vigilant.
Last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut took more than 160 lives. The Islamic State group, who took credit for the attacks, released a video vowing to strike Washington, D.C.
Though Gruber said he has been talking with many worried parents and students, he does not believe that the Georgetown community is in danger. “All the intelligence that I’m getting shows that there’s no current threat, no active threat to our area,” he said on Wednesday.
Gruber explained that even in normal conditions, his office receives intelligence from law enforcement and different governmental groups. Additionally, because of the current situation, he has increased contact with other law enforcement partners. “We are keeping in touch more often with my counterparts at the Washington field office of the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force … Also doing the same with my partners at the Metropolitan Police Department,” he said. “It’s my proactive contact that’s increased. The intelligence that comes into me from [other] groups remains constant.”
Gruber also noted that the Department of Public Safety would be increasing the visibility of police officers. Typically, any shift has an average of six to ten officers on the streets, he said.
Gruber noted that in addition to increased inquiries about student safety, there have been increased reports of unusual activity. “We have seen an uptick, especially through our LiveSafe app, of people letting us know about suspicious people, suspicious activity, suspicious packages. It’s always very, very helpful to get input from our community … A lot of times the only way we’ll know about it is if someone reaches out to us.”
Gruber advised students to remain aware of their surroundings, lock their doors, and continue to report suspicious activity. “If students do those simple things, they shouldn’t have to change the way they live here in Washington. It’s important to not let these threats interfere with your daily life and what you’re doing.”
Members of the Georgetown community can report suspicious activity by calling the Department of Public Safety or by using the LiveSafe app. “This is a much used term, but if you see something, say something,” said Gruber. “Don’t just ignore it. You have to let us know. A lot of crime and terrorist activity has been stopped because citizens contacted law enforcement and were able to make a difference.”