Just a week after a Copley suite was burgled last Tuesday, students reported additional burglaries in four Henle Village apartments, continuing a recent spike in reported burglaries on campus that has resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars of student property.

Amanda Walsh (COL ’10) reported that two laptops, cash, two cell phones, a backpack, an iPod and a pair of sunglasses were missing after her Henle 53 apartment was broken into.

The burglary happened during a span of 10 minutes, when Walsh set down her backpack, which contained her laptop, inside her apartment and went to her room. She was planning on going to the library to study.

She said that she contacted the Department of Public Safety after she discovered the items were missing, but officers did not arrive on the scene until 45 minutes later.

Andrew Britt (COL ’08), a resident of Henle 71, also said that DPS did not respond immediately after he reported the theft of his Xbox 360, 20 video games, two controllers and a power adaptor from his apartment between 5:40 and 7:00 p.m. that evening while he was in class.

Britt’s roommate, Jorge Perez (MSB ’08), was in the apartment during the burglary. Perez said he heard the apartment door open and close around the time of the theft but that at the time, he did not think anything of it.

“We just assumed [the noise] was another roommate. To me, that’s the scariest part of the situation,” Perez said.

“We noticed [the Xbox and games] were missing around nine o’ clock when [Charles Overly (MSB ’08)] wanted to play games,” he said.

The roommates immediately called the Department of Public Safety upon discovering the burglary, Perez said. According to the DPS incident log, DPS responded soon after 11:00 p.m.

“DPS took over an hour to get here,” Britt said. “We called [the Metropolitan Police Department] in the meantime because we didn’t know how long DPS would take.”

The Metropolitan Police Department also responded to the series of Henle burglaries. In total, an Xbox, 20 games, four laptops, four iPods, two cell phones, a backpack and a pair of sunglasses were stolen from the four Henle apartments between 7:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. that evening, according to a university safety notification. Students from the other two apartments could not be reached for comment.

Britt said he is currently in communication with Georgetown University about the security of the Henle apartments.

“More should be done about security,” he said. “Not only are our possessions at risk, but so are the students. What if someone has a gun?”

Britt also said he thinks Henle’s location makes it a prime target for crime.

“Henle is generally not a safe apartment [complex],” Britt continued. “We are so close to the street. Henle is a university building, and it should be protected like one.”

One of Walsh’s roommates, Kelsey Malmquist (COL ’10), said there need to be more DPS patrols in the areas around Henle.

“Henle is the darkest and most secluded place on campus, but there’s never a DPS officer,” she said. “They’re here to break up Henle parties, but not to protect us.”

Walsh and Malmquist said the apartment doors at the entrances to Henle buildings can be easily manipulated.

“The doors don’t swing shut by themselves, as they do in other dorms,” Britt said. “They can be easily kicked open, even if they’re shut.”

The Henle burglaries come after a similar incident that occurred in Copley a week earlier.

When Anthony Placeres (COL ’10) returned to campus at around 10:15 p.m. on the night of Nov. 20 after his three roommates had left for Thanksgiving break, he discovered his room had been burgled.

“The lights in the room were on, my closet doors had been opened and several of my things had been tossed onto the floor,” Placeres said.

He said that the suspect probably entered the suite through the unlocked door of the other room in his Copley suite, since the doors to the bathroom adjoining the two rooms cannot be locked and the door to Placeres’ room was still locked when he returned that evening.

Placeres said he reported the burglary to DPS, which then contacted MPD.

The MPD incident report said that two laptops, an iPod, three hats and one television – totaling $930 – were missing. PD’s Web site said that an Xbox 360 was also missing.

Placeres said that in the days following the report he made to PD, he also discovered several other items missing, including his watch and his suitemates’ television and speaker system.

Placeres said a suitcase belonging to his roommate had also been taken, which is how he believes the suspect was able to remove such a large number of items from the building.

Placeres said the university should do more to protect students, particularly those who live in Copley, which he pointed out has multiple entrances but only one guard’s desk at the main entrance. He said that automatically locking doors or added security cameras could help solve the problem.

“There’s a lot more that the school could do,” Placeres said. “They put a lot of responsibility on the students, but we pay a lot of money for our room and board, and I want to see where that money is going.”

The latest incidents are part of a recent increase in burglaries around campus, including one in Henle at the end of October in which two laptops were stolen. Earlier this month, residents of a Nordhoff (a section of Nevils) apartment reported their second burglary within a span of seven weeks. In all three incidents, students said that broken doors into their residences, of which the university had been alerted, likely increased the chances that their homes were burgled.

“There was no sign of forced entry in any of the recent campus incidents, and in more than 90 percent of them, doors were unlocked, leaving criminals the ability to easily gain access to the valuables stolen,” university spokesperson Julie Bataille said.

Bataille added that students “must remain vigilant about their safety.”

But the victims of the most recent burglaries still complained the university should be doing more, such as heightening patrols.

“All we’ve gotten are e-mails,” Perez said about the university’s response to the burglaries. “It seems like a passive attempt by Georgetown to counter crime. The thief himself probably isn’t aware about what is being done about the situation.”

The recent increase in high-profile burglaries and public safety broadcasts was addressed in a campus-wide e-mail sent by the university’s Student Safety Advisory Board Wednesday afternoon. SSAB member Tyler Spalding (SFS ’08) said he does not think the recent increase in burglaries is a new issue but added that these sorts of incidents statistically increase each year during the holiday season.

“We start to forget to do things as simple as locking our doors,” he said. “We just want to remind people to be more aware and cognizant.”

“Students are blaming the university in large part when they should be more conscientious,” Max O’Neill (COL ’08), another member of the SSAB, said. “[Criminals] see an opportunity here, and we need to stop giving them that opportunity.”

Spalding said that the SSAB, the university and DPS are working to help enhance student safety.

“We are always trying to come up with new and innovative ways to increase student safety,” Spalding said. “But there is only so much we can do – students also need to be more aware and responsible.”

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