Apartments examine security after attack

The attempted sexual assault of a student resident of the Potomac Park apartment building has revived concerns about security in off-campus buildings.

Several buildings have augmented their security, while others have determined their current procedures are sufficient.

Staff at The Statesman, 2020 F St., require tenants to notify the person stationed at the front desk that they expect guests.

“The kids don’t realize what the security means,” said desk clerk Hattie Dulaney. “They think it’s an imposition to come to the desk and announce their guests.”

Dulaney said cameras inside the building monitor the entrances and the building also requires maintenance workers and food deliveries to be announced.

“The only time someone can get in is if a resident opens the door and a visitor shoots right up the steps,” Dulaney said.

As a result of Monday’s incident, the Metropolitan Police Department has issued a news release to all apartment buildings in the area to boost awareness.

In response, Statesman Property Manager Joan Gustafson issued a memo to residents in an effort to prevent a similar incident. Dulaney said The Statesman warned residents but took no other additional security measures.

“I don’t know what else we can do,” she said.

Dave Johnson, a porter at The Statesmen, said workers now arrive a half hour early to check the building.

Roy Patterson, general manager of The Jefferson House, at 922 24th St., also heard about Monday’s attack.

“We do get periodic briefings from the police,” Patterson said. “We have not received anything recently. We should get something in a couple of days.”

Patterson declined to disclose The Jefferson House’s specific security precautions but said it has staff members working at the front desk 24 hours a day.

“We are security conscious. We have systems in place,” said Patterson, who has served as general manager for five months. “In a condominium, it takes a while to make changes.”

Some GW organizations are joining local apartment employees in plans to take preventative measures. Earlier this year a group of GW women organized the GW Women’s Center, which will be located on the Mount Vernon campus. As part of their services, the women said they plan to provide education about sexual assault.

“We will inform GW students about rape and will host various speakers,” said sophomore Heather McKee Hurwitz, a founding member of women’s center.

Although the center is not open yet, Hurwitz said the founders plan to begin operating March 1 at Mount Vernon.

“We don’t want (an assault) to happen again and that’s why we’re starting the Women’s Center,” Hurwitz said.

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