In the past two weeks, several reported robberies at gunpoint in the Georgetown area have prompted community alerts in Foggy Bottom and throughout the District.
Between April 11 and 13, people walking alone in Georgetown were robbed of purses and iPods. In two of the incidents, victims reported the robber was armed.
Several days later, three men reported robberies of cell phones and iPods while walking in the Northwest neighborhood. The alleged perpetrators, all reported to be men, were later arrested and determined to be from Maryland, according to news reports. A total of six robberies occurred between April 11 and 17. Three victims were men while the same amount were women.
In response to these crimes, the Metropolitan Police Department released community alerts to notify District residents about the crimes and urge them to exercise caution.
Many GW students living in the Georgetown area said they are accustomed to hearing about crimes in their neighborhood, especially after a large crime wave that hit the area last summer.
Junior Nick Cicchatelli, who lives off M Street, referred to the area as “a late-night gold mine” for robberies because of the upscale crowd that frequents many of the area’s bars. He said he still feels safe in the area.
“Unless you are by yourself, there really is no threat,” Cicchatelli said.
Nathan Imperiale, a senior who lives on 28th Street in Georgetown, said that despite the crime, he rarely feels unsafe where he lives.
“Living in Georgetown, I feel like it’s probably one of the safest places to live in D.C.,” Imperiale said.
He added that he was still affected by the recent robbery reports. “Hearing of all these crimes and robberies is a little disconcerting,” Imperiale said.
Both Cicchatelli and Imperiale said there are usually many police and security guards patrolling M Street – the main thoroughfare for Georgetown night life – but not as many on the side streets late at night.
Brian Hamluk, director of Off-Campus Affairs, said GW takes many steps to protect students, on and off campus, from falling victim to crime.
“Along with several other areas on campus, including the University Police Department, we work to educate students about personal safety,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Hamluk said some of the University’s efforts include providing safety information to students and parents at Colonial Inauguration and sending UPD officers to residence halls to educate students.
UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said an increase in robberies like those in Georgetown may be a normal occurrence for this time of year.
“Robberies can sometimes spike as the weather gets warmer and more people walk around at night,” Stafford said, adding that most robberies take place at night.
Stafford advised that students continue to utilize the 4-Ride service rather than walking alone late at night.
“Generally, robberies can happen anywhere in the city,” Stafford said. “So people all over the city, including here in Foggy Bottom, need to use good judgment and common sense with regard to their personal safety.”