In reviewing the Department of Public Safety’s 2012 annual crime report, two statistics stand out: Crime on Georgetown’s main campus fell 16 percent between 2009 and 2011, and the number of thefts jumped from 170 to 219 in the last year.

If DPS is to take a well-earned bow for the overall reduction in crime, it must also answer for the nearly 20 percent spike in thefts, which exceeds an arbitrary fluctuation. Members of the Georgetown community should not have to be overly paranoid about holding on to their possessions, and both DPS and students share a responsibility to decrease the frequency of property theft on campus.

Laptops and bicycles are the most commonly stolen items, making up 53 percent of thefts in 2011. DPS offers students the opportunity to register their laptops and bikes with the university, a program designed to serve as a deterrent to theft and help to recover stolen items. Registered laptops, at a $10 fee, receive a permanent security device and a security plate, allowing ownership to be verified.

But the effectiveness of these initiatives as deterrents only works in proportion to usage. Until there is widespread participation in the programs, we will not see a reduction in the number of laptop and bike thefts. The university needs to better advertise these opportunities, which, in the current system, students must actively seek out through the DPS website. Students, in turn, must make the most of these procedures
Both DPS and students have a role to play in curtailing crime, and in this case, the next steps seem to be clear. Common sense and use of DPS programs can help secure both students’ possessions and our peace of mind.

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