Security lighter in Vern freshman halls

Freshman residence halls on the Mount Vernon Campus have lighter campus security than Foggy Bottom Campus halls do, which administrators credit to an overall lack of crime on the more suburban campus.

Unlike freshman residence halls on the Foggy Bottom Campus, Mount Vernon freshman residence halls do not require nonresidents to sign in at the front desk and do not have posted security guards.

Darrell Darnell, the senior associate vice president for safety and security, said there has not been any indication that the Vern requires the same level of security as Foggy Bottom.

This has been a long-standing policy for the Vern but with West Hall’s opening this fall, about 300 more students are living on the suburban campus.

“We think with the officers that we have there, they’re able to adequately patrol Mount Vernon without being physically stationed within West Hall on a full-time basis like Thurston House and the Potomac House,” Darnell said.

He added that with the increased number of residents living on the Vern this year, the policy could potentially be reevaluated.

“I think now that we have the increase of number of students it might entail that we actually have to do that,” Darnell said. “But so far, we haven’t seen any indication that we need that level of security at Mount Vernon.”

According to University Police Department crime statistics, there have been four reports of burglaries on the Vern just in the first two months of the school year – three in West Hall and one in Somers Hall. There were five reports of burglaries on the Vern in 2009, down from nine reports each in 2008 and 2007. There were 103 reports of burglaries on Foggy Bottom in 2009, and 122 in 2008.

While the University currently has no officers stationed at the front desk of each Vern residence hall consistently, students wary of suspicious behavior are still urged to contact UPD.

“Residents who observe someone who doesn’t appear to be a resident trying to enter a GW residential building without a GWorld card or who is unaccompanied by another resident should contact GWPD,” University spokeswoman Candace Smith said.

Rachel Weinstein, a freshman living in West Hall, said she does not mind the lighter security.

“I think it’s a little weird that this is the exception, but I don’t see it as a problem,”? Weinstein said. “It’s kind of nice, because I’ve gone to freshman dorms on Foggy and you have to stand there and give them your ID and sign in and everything. I don’t feel unsafe, personally.”

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