Updated: Oct. 05, 2015 at 9:34 a.m.
The number of on-campus burglaries dropped 70 percent last year, bringing the total back in line with years past.
Eleven on-campus burglaries were reported in 2014, down from 39 in 2013 after a rash of laptop thefts. The head of GW’s police department said the decline occurred because the thief was arrested.
The data comes from GW’s annual security report, which was released last week and provides crime data for 2011 to 2014 across campuses. Disciplinary action for drug and alcohol violations also dropped in 2014, while the number of rapes reported to the University Police Department increased.
University Police Department Chief RaShall Brackney said last week that she is “pleased” about the drop in burglaries. UPD arrested a man in Shenkman Hall in 2013 after he attempted to run off with five laptops and other electronics.
“We hope that the number of burglaries on campus continues to stay low,” Brackney said.
Brackney added that the programs the University offers to students for crime prevention have a “common theme,” which is “to encourage students to be responsible for their own safety and for the safety of others on campus.”
Robert Siciliano, a personal security and identity theft expert, said that it’s possible to decrease crime when a particular criminal or group is taken off the streets, but there is no way to predict spikes or drops in crime rate.
“If you look at the overall stats, they remain somewhat steady when crimes occur,” he said. “When there are dramatic rises, there are dramatic drops.”
He added that college campuses in particular are susceptible to burglaries because students can be ignorant about locking their doors if they come from a small town or area where they are not used to it. Laptops were stolen out of unlocked rooms in JBKO and Fulbright Halls in January 2014.
“It’s just being ignorant because crime can occur anywhere at any time,” Siciliano said.
Burglaries also declined at two of GW’s neighboring peer schools in 2014. American University tallied eight on-campus burglaries in 2014, half of the total from 2013. Georgetown University’s on-campus burglaries declined by four ‒ totaling 41 incidents in 2014, according to the school’s annual security report.
Kendrick Chang and Rohan Shah contributed reporting.