Staff Editorial: A shared responsibility for safety

Last week, two serious crimes were committed within a 24-hour period. On Friday, an aggravated assault occurred in Duques Hall, when a man attacked another individual with a hammer. Only the night before, a male unaffiliated with the University was apprehended in Thurston Hall after allegedly entering five different rooms in an attempt to initiate sexual encounters. Both of these incidents exemplify ways that GW can improve security on its campus.

The assault that took place in Duques demonstrates the need to better expedite information in response to major security threats on campus. A timeline of events starts at 3:05 p.m. with the assault itself. The first alert to the community was issued more than an hour later – at 4:09 p.m – in a GW Crime Alert sent through Alert D.C. The first GW Infomail came almost 30 minutes later at 4:37 p.m. For the students that rely primarily on GW Infomail, more than a full hour and a half passed between the incident and notification.

While we understand the pressure to get information in these releases correct, the time between the assault and the release of the Infomail was far too long. Considering the initial Alert D.C. and Infomail contained largely the same information, we are led to wonder why the Infomail could not have been released immediately following the D.C. Alert. Along those lines, we remain skeptical that the entire alert process could not have been initiated earlier. Sending out information a full hour after an incident is not acceptable when a violent suspect is potentially still on campus.

On Friday morning, in a case reminiscent of the “Georgetown Cuddler,” a man entered five rooms in Thurston Hall with the intent to initiate unwanted sexual encounters. This incident shows that students have a responsibility to keep themselves safe. The person apprehended in the case was signed into Thurston Hall, one of the only residence halls with around-the-clock security. He was then able to enter unlocked rooms, where the assaults took place. This is a valuable reminder of the necessity for students to lock their doors at all times and to take responsibility for guests you bring into residence halls.

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