In response to the high theft rate at Georgetown in recent years, Lamar Dawson, the hall director for McCarthy, has launched an initiative to increase student awareness about on-campus safety measures.

Working in partnership with the Department of Public Safety, Dawson has implemented a variety of programs geared toward educating students about on-campus crime, safety precautions and resources provided by the university to combat crime.

In addition to raising awareness, Dawson envisions the program as a way of fostering a sense of community in the Southwest Quad.

“The mission is to foster inclusive and vibrant communities,” Dawson said. “You can’t have a vibrant community if it’s not safe.”

Citing the examples of SafeRides and a DPS service that allows students to engrave and register laptops and other valuables, Dawson said that Georgetown offers an array of safety resources of which many students are unaware.

“The biggest thing is that there are so many campus resources already that they can use to make sure they are being safe,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that service is even here.”

As part of the initiative, Dawson organized an event Oct. 16 and 17 in which students could meet Adrian Black, the DPS Liaison to Southwest Quad, and ask him a question in exchange for a cupcake. Dawson said the purpose of the event was to break down barriers between DPS officers and students.

Brian Monahan (COL ’15), a Resident Assistant in McCarthy Hall, attended the program.

“I thought it was a great way for the residents to interact with DPS in a different way than most people are used to,” he said. “DPS has a negative connotation among students, and having an officer there interacting with students and fielding their questions and addressing their concerns was great for both DPS and the residents.”

Black is one of several members of DPS assigned to various areas of campus as liaisons. According to Dawson, these officers attend staff meetings, participate in RA training and walk on rounds with RAs in high-activity communities. Black, who has been working with DPS since February, has been working closely with Dawson on his initiative.

Black agreed that the project is a good way to foster better relationships between DPS staff and students, adding that he would like to see more opportunities for similar interaction in the future.

“Students get to know us … on a one-on-one basis. It’s not so standoffish. … I just get up there and talk to people,” he said.

Monahan said he believes Dawson’s initiative is beneficial because it educates students about basic safety precautions.

“I think that it is often very easy to get lost in the ‘Georgetown bubble’ and be lured into a false sense of security,” he said
Dawson has also created a display in the lobby of McCarthy listing facts and figures about on-campus crime. According to RA Ellie Smith (COL ’13), McCarthy RAs are required to have at least one safety-themed bulletin board during the month of October.

“Students are becoming more aware that there is a general safety problem in our environment,” Smith said. “This program is about how you can protect and enforce your safety. It empowers students.”

Department of Public Safety officer Sgt. Adrian Black answered questions and registered possessions in McCarthy last week.
Department of Public Safety officer Sgt. Adrian Black answered questions and registered possessions in McCarthy last week.

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