University Police: Reported thefts see slight increase

Reported thefts on GW’s two residential campuses saw a slight increase this year, University Police Department data shows.

The number of reported thefts on both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses saw a 2 percent increase – up to 404 reported thefts, from 397 reported thefts in 2009.

UPD Chief Kevin Hay said the majority of thefts occur on public property on campus, followed by the Marvin Center, “due to its openness.” Gelman Library is the third-most common place for theft, Hay said, based on a review of UPD’s Investigative Case File. Crime log data shows that other common theft locations this year have been the Academic Center and the Lerner Health and Wellness Center.

Hay said UPD does not track theft according to what type of property was stolen. Earlier this semester, however, the University sent out Crime Alerts alerting the GW community to incidents of laptop theft. On Oct. 4, a female student reported to UPD that a suspect snatched her MacBook laptop while she was typing on it at the Gelman Starbucks.

Just a few weeks later, a female reported to MPD that a laptop was snatched out of her hands in a building on the 2100 block of G Street Oct. 22, according to an MPD alert sent out over a community listserv. Six laptops were stolen from Rice Hall – the building that houses offices of some of the highest-ranking GW officials, including University President Steven Knapp – in October.

“The far majority of thefts involving laptops occur when people leave them unattended,” Hay said.

Hay said because students would never set down $1,000 in cash on a table and leave for a few minutes, he does not understand why students walk away from laptops that can be easily concealed.

In order to catch offenders in the act, Hay said officers in plainclothes have been patrolling campus, adding that UPD shares information about thefts and suspects involved with Georgetown University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Georgetown University has also seen an increase in reported laptop thefts, Georgetown’s newspaper, The Hoya, reported Monday. The newspaper added that MPD is conducting an ongoing investigation. Twenty laptops, mostly MacBooks, have been stolen at Georgetown University since November, according to the report.

Hay added that UPD is following up with MPD detectives to obtain an arrest warrant for a suspect in laptop and iPhone theft cases.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.