Area thefts rise, but remain steady on campus

The number of thefts on campus has remained steady, while the area around Foggy Bottom has seen a 24 percent spike in the crime compared to this time last year.

Police Service Area 207 was hit by 243 thefts from Jan. 1 to April 17, up 47 incidents from the same time span in 2011. The Foggy Bottom Campus saw only 10 more cases, reaching 148 thefts this year.

Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the majority of thefts occur in commercial locations, such as restaurants, clothing stores and office buildings.

“We are working with various entities sharing crime trends, prevention tips and suspect information,” Crump said, declining to comment further on MPD’s tactics to combat theft.

When asked about the comparison between theft rates on and off campus, Crump said crime trends and locations vary, but advised, “People should always be aware of their surroundings.”

Police Service Area 207 covers the Foggy Bottom Campus and is bound by 14th and M streets, the Potomac River and Rock Creek.

University Police Department Chief Kevin Hay attributed GW’s insulation from rising theft rates to the police force’s focus on campus. The unit has more than 100 uniformed officers.

“GW is fortunate to have a fairly concentrated police presence on campus, which serves as a deterrent to thieves,” he said. “We encourage students to educate themselves about the potential for theft in Northwest D.C.”

Hay, who cited electronics as the most commonly stolen items on campus, said he does not expect that trend to shift until phone and computer companies begin working with law enforcement agencies to disable stolen devices. Crump also said electronics are most frequently stolen items.

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