Campus robberies double over last year

The number of robberies reported to the University Police Department nearly doubled over the last calendar year, as reports of stolen electronic devices increased across the District.

But at the same time, reported burglaries – which involve breaking and entering – dropped by more than half, UPD Chief Kevin Hay said. The University has cracked down on residence hall access in the last year, stationing night guards at many entrances.

The spike in robberies also coincided with an increase in pickpocketing incidents this fall, mainly around The Avenue, prompting University and Metropolitan police to up surveillance of outdoor seating at Whole Foods Market, Roti Mediterranean Grill and Sweetgreen.

Robbery, unlike theft, involves stealing or attempting to steal by force or threat of force. About 40 percent of robberies across D.C. involve smart phones, according to MPD. The city launched a program late last year to “brick” stolen smart phones, or remotely disable them to prevent thieves from reactivating and using the devices.

The number of thefts remained steady, with more than 500 incidents reported in both 2011 and 2012.

Campus burglaries have dropped for the past four academic years, according to Department of Education statistics released last October. A total of 40 burglaries were reported for 2011 – significantly fewer than the 75 incidents in 2010, the data showed. The Foggy Bottom Campus saw 125 reported burglaries in 2008.

Hay added that the continued decline in reported burglaries reflects a federal policy implemented in 2010 that narrowed the definition of burglary, which involves a theft with proof of forced or illegal entry.

Drug law violations rose by about 15 percent to 124 cases, up from 108 cases. Liquor law violations increased only slightly, to 535 incidents in 2012.

Hay declined to comment on the increase in drug law violations, but credited the increase in alcohol violations to “the increased presence of police and education and awareness programs.” He also declined to comment on whether his police force could stem the increase in alcohol and drug violations on a college campus.

Liquor law violations rose by 22 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year, following the launch of the University’s Be Wiser campaign, which promotes responsible drinking practices.

University officials previously credited increases in alcohol violations and alcohol-related EMeRG transports to changes in disciplinary policy. Under GW’s amnesty policy, students transported to the hospital due to alcohol intoxication will not be marked on their disciplinary records after their first violation. Students who call in for help when a friend is intoxicated are also not charged with violations.

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