City police step up neighborhood patrols

by Brianna Gurciullo

The Metropolitan Police Department added foot and bike patrols to Foggy Bottom neighborhoods along the edges of campus this month, responding to complaints of noise and vandalism on weekend nights.

Neighbors who helped lobby for patrols said they will cover 16th, 24th and 25th streets and H, I and K streets between midnight and 3 a.m. MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump declined to provide details on the patrol changes, saying the department is "adequately staffed in this area."

A group of locals say they brought their concerns about student behavior to the University in October, but have been ignored. GW has maintained that out-of-boundary residences fall under the jurisdiction of MPD, and said the University's off-campus student affairs office provides information to students about how to be good neighbors.

"Some of the incidents are minor, but there have been several incidents of significant damage to sculptures," longtime Foggy Bottom resident Kenneth Durham wrote in a community email thread Monday.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said MPD informed the University of the patrols, but UPD Chief Kevin Hay would not comment on the patrol schedules or operations.

Sherrard said last week that UPD, which previously sent officers off campus to ask students to lower noise levels, will change its response protocol after the University realized those actions exceed UPD authority.

The city's noise laws ban "unreasonably loud noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. that is likely to annoy or disturb one or more other persons in their residences." Breaking that law after receiving a verbal warning could land an offender fines of up to $1,000, up to 10 days of prison time, or both.

Some neighbors have said this year's disturbances are at record levels, but the total number of off-campus complaints has dropped by 30 percent – from 115 to 80 – between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years.

Durham, who has met with the University's community relations office several times each year for the past six years, criticized GW's off-campus policies in January, while lauding neighboring Georgetown University's mandatory housing contracts and off-campus orientation program.

View the policies on commenting here.

blog comments powered by Disqus