There has been a spike in the number of incidences of homicide and robbery across Washington, D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department. This year, homicides have increased by five percent and robberies by 11 percent as compared to the same period in 2002.

MPD Public Information Officer Junis Fletcher also reported that although incidences of burglary are down by five percent and auto theft is down 15 percent, occurrences of theft in general are up 12 percent on the year.

The increase in robbery and theft during this past year stands in stark contrast to decreases in those categories in 2002. Last year, robbery showed a 6 percent decrease while general theft decreased by 26 percent from the same period in 2001. Murder rates, however, have increased in each of the last two years.

Since the beginning of the school year, the Department of Public Safety has notified students of a number of incidents in the immediate area, including two robberies in the past two weeks on the 3300 block of Prospect Street. On Tuesday, MPD apprehended an armed robber suspected of mugging an individual on the 3000 block of O Street at 11:20 a.m.

Although the recent incidences in the Georgetown area may be taken as part of the larger trend indicated by the most current District statistics, statistical trends in the MPD’s Second District, which includes Georgetown, do not always mirror those of the city as a whole. In 2002, when there was a 2.4 percent decrease in city-wide crime, the second district saw crime drop by more than 10 percent.

Nonetheless Georgetown students said that they remain conscious of area crime.

“Nothing has happened to me, but I know there is a criminal element out there. You just have to be careful,” David Waldman (MSB ’05) said. Waldman also mentioned, however, that he feels far safer in the Georgetown neighborhood than in many other parts of Washington, D.C. “Once you leave the Northwest, you just have to hold your wallet a bit tighter,” he said.

ANC representative Mike Glick (COL ’05) also recognized the unique nature of the Georgetown neighborhood. “Although we are in an urban environment, we as students here at Georgetown do have a sort of double layer of security: that of being in an upstanding neighborhood and of having a campus to call home,” he said. “However, the unfortunate incidents early in the year do shed light on our vulnerabilities. Students need to employ common sense – locking doors, traveling in groups wherever possible and securing valuables – to protect ourselves.”

Glick attributed the decrease in burglaries and auto theft to increased vigilance by residents. “Crime statistics do seem to be down in the area and I think this is the result of students being more conscious of their environment,” he said. “Yet there is always a need for increased police patrol, more eyes on the streets.”

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