The University Police Department has barred about 10 percent fewer people from campus each year since 2009.
UPD Chief Kevin Hay said he wasn’t sure what exactly has caused the continuous decline, but said officers may be barring fewer individuals as Foggy Bottom’s homeless population decreases or because GW’s “reputation for barring people from campus has spread.”
Campus officers have forbidden more than 4,500 people total from setting foot on University property as of this month. More than 1,200 people have been barred in the last four years.
Hay said people are most often barred from entering GW-owned buildings, like residence halls, which are not open to the public. The department has barred 266 people so far this calendar year.
Hay said officers have arrested 10 people this year for returning to GW after they were barred. Those arrested for unlawful entry in the District face a maximum of 180 days in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.
Hay said he has lifted bans 20 to 30 times each year. In a recent case, Hay said UPD revoked the ban of an underage visitor who was caught drinking on GW’s campus after the individual provided a reason to return to campus and convinced GW that “the behavior would not be repeated.”
When people are barred from campus, the department takes their photo and provides them with a map of GW’s property. Their photograph is entered into a database that stores the names and dates of birth of all people banned from the University’s grounds.
The database includes a list of more than 1,800 individuals – far fewer than the actual number of people GW has barred over the years. University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the U.S. Attorney’s Office stopped prosecuting cases for bar notices that were more than five years old in 2011, so GW removed names that were more than five years old from its database.
GW bought iPhones for UPD supervisors so they could access the database in the field, such as when an officer finds someone in a University building without a GWorld card. But in many cases, officers simply recognize past perpetrators or “they have some other reason to believe the person was previously barred from campus,” Hay said.