On-campus burglaries roughly doubled in one year, according to data released last week, the first time the number of reported burglaries has increased in at least five years.
Thirty-nine burglaries were reported to GW police in 2013, compared to 20 the previous year. Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said the increase came from a string of burglaries in residence halls last year.
In January 2013, laptops were stolen from three unlocked rooms in JBKO and Fulbright halls, and police also arrested a man in Shenkman Hall that month for stealing laptops and other electronics.
But Darnell said burglaries have dropped since campus officers arrested several burglary suspects. The University Police Department has recorded just three burglaries in its crime log since January of this year.
“If you go from 2013 to 2014, burglaries leveled off and they actually went down, so we just had that uptick in that one year,” he said.
The number of burglaries recorded in GW’s annual security report, which UPD is required to compile under the Clery Act, had decreased every year since 2008. Between 2011 and 2012, the number dropped by nearly half.
UPD Chief Kevin Hay has said that the steep decline was in part attributable to a more narrow definition of burglary adopted three years ago by the FBI.
The University announced last year that it would spend $1.2 million to install electronic locks in 1959 E St., and JBKO, West and Shenkman halls. GW also added 24-hour security to Shenkman, Fulbright and JBKO halls after the string of day-time burglaries.
Other D.C. colleges like Georgetown and American universities saw decreases in burglaries between 2012 and 2013. Georgetown University recorded 49 burglaries in 2013 compared to 56 the year before, while American University logged 26 cases last year and 19 in 2012.
Howard University recorded four burglaries on its main campus in 2011 and three burglaries in the following year. The data for 2013 has not yet been released.
This article appeared in the October 6, 2014 issue of the Hatchet.