By James Irwin
Reported burglaries and liquor law violations at the George Washington University decreased significantly in 2014, while the number of reported incidents of sexual assault were the same as the previous year, according to the university’s annual security report, released Wednesday.
There were 11 reported incidents of burglary in 2014 on the Foggy Bottom Campus, down from 39 a year ago, according to the report. Incidents leveled off following a series of burglaries in 2013 that hit some GW residence halls and academic buildings, according to Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell. The serial burglars, who were arrested and prosecuted, were responsible for about half of GW’s reported burglaries in 2013, said GW Police Department Chief RaShall Brackney.
Disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations fell precipitously in 2014, according to the 62-page report, provided annually by the Office of Safety and Security and GWPD in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
There were 155 referrals for liquor law violations on the Foggy Bottom Campus in 2014, down from 291 in 2012 and 431 in 2013. One significant reason the numbers were higher in 2013 was due to an end-of-semester room check in residence halls that December, resulting in more than 200 reported incidents.
“But they are still steadily decreasing, there’s a trend of them decreasing,” Ms. Brackney said. “We would like to think it’s a combination of proactive efforts—that there’s messaging around alcohol and our low tolerance for underage drinking. Between public service announcements and awareness campaigns and Colonial Inauguration, we are very proactive at discouraging those types of behaviors.”
There were 25 reports of sexual assault to police and non-police on the Foggy Bottom Campus in 2014, according to the report, matching the number from 2013. The report released Wednesday provided an adjusted number for reported sexual assaults logged in 2013, from 21 to 25. That change is the result of new information gleaned from a 2011 case of sexual assault covered in the 2013 report. The university is required, under the Clery Act, to update any data if additional crimes are uncovered stemming from a previous report.
In this case, Ms. Brackney said, what was reported as a single incident in 2013 between a boyfriend and girlfriend was adjusted to reflect five incidents of sexual assault.
"In being as transparent as possible, we’re changing those numbers for this continuous course of conduct between this single boyfriend and girlfriend,” Ms. Brackney said.
GWPD introduced three new reporting categories—domestic violence, dating violence and stalking—in the 2013 report, as a result of the reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act. Reported incidents of those three categories were consistent in the second year of monitoring. The university reported 20 incidents of domestic violence on the Foggy Bottom Campus, zero of dating violence and 10 of stalking in 2014, compared to 18, two and 12 in 2013, respectively.
The largest change regarding sexual assault cases occurred in incidents reported to non-police, which increased from 12 in 2013 to 17 in 2014. Five such incidents were reported to non-police in 2012. The increase correlates to an improvement in outlets to report incidents of sexual assault, Ms. Brackney said.
“This has been one of President [Steven] Knapp’s initiatives—that we are very proactive in providing confidential reporting mechanisms in support for any of our victims or survivors of these incidents,” she said. “If you are a victim, we encourage you to use every resource available to you. That may be the counseling center, it may be through Title IX, it can be GWPD, it can be through your residence hall advisers or any other support mechanisms.”
The report, which contains information regarding campus security and personal safety topics—including crime prevention, fire safety and disciplinary procedures—contains crime statistics for the three previous calendar years regarding crimes on campus, in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by GW, and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible to campus. It can be obtained from GWPD at Rome Hall. Additional information, including safety tips, crime prevention information and access to the GWPD crime log, are available online.