Sexual assaults in Second District rise

The number of sex abuse crimes in the Second District – where GW’s residential campuses are located – increased 78 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to Metropolitan Police data.

There were 18 sex abuse cases in the Second District in 2009, and 32 cases in 2010, according to the crime mapping tool on MPD’s website.

MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said there were 233 adult sexual assault cases in total reported to MPD in 2009. That figure increased about 11 percent in 2010 with 260 reported adult sexual assaults.

“This includes simple touching to forcible acts,” Crump said of the data. She explained there is a wide variety of sexual assault offenses, and frequently there are subdivisions within those various types.

MPD tracks all of its sexual assault information based on the number of reported sexual assaults to the department, Crump said.

Despite the increase in the Second District and the District as a whole, sexual assaults at GW declined, dropping from nine in 2009 to just two in 2010, according to University Police Department data.

“While the cases documented by MPD have increased District-wide, we have not seen a commensurate increase on our campuses,” UPD Chief Kevin Hay said.

Hay said the Foggy Bottom Campus had two cases of sexual assault in 2010, and the Mount Vernon Campus saw none. Data from UPD’s website crime statistics shows that in 2009, the Foggy Bottom Campus had four reported cases of forcible rape, two cases of sexual assault with an object and three cases of forcible fondling.

Of these cases, only one case of sexual assault with an object was reported to MPD, according to UPD’s data. Seven of the other cases were reported to UPD, and one case was reported to a non-police official. The Vern saw zero cases of sexual assault in 2009.

Crump did not return request for comment as to whether UPD’s reported numbers were included in MPD’s data count.

“Keep in mind, in the incidents we have seen at GWU, they are acquaintance rape cases, which some people call ‘date rape.’ It is extremely important to understand definitions. A ‘sexual assault’ can range from a rape to an unwanted fondling case,” Hay said.

He also made a point to note that, “not every sex case means a rape has occurred.”

While sexual assaults in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood have declined, the area did see a few notable sexual assault cases.

In October 2010, a female in her 20s reported to MPD that she was raped by an unknown male behind the Spanish Embassy, located just off campus along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Community members expressed concern after the incident, noting that it was unusual for the area. As of the fall, no arrest had been reported for the case.

In February of last year, a female student reported she was forcibly fondled in Gelman Library as she assisted a male subject. She reported that he put his hands down her pants and up her shirt, according to a Crime Alert sent out by the University. A month later, a GW graduate student was identified as a suspect in the case and it was referred to Student Judicial Services. The incident wasn’t reported to MPD at the time, The Hatchet reported.

Hay recommended students be careful when going out at night by traveling in groups, not accepting drinks from people they don’t know and by making sure the person they go home with someone they trust.

Hay said UPD patrols the area around campus 24/7 and that 4-RIDE is available to transport students at night as well.

“Learning to be ‘street-wise’ and developing a sense of ‘situational awareness’ are key elements of self-protection, especially in large cities,” he said.

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