News and Analysis



A student was the victim of an armed robbery near campus Thursday night, a University spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The victim was approached by a suspect armed with a gun on Hughes Mews near 25th Street at 8:40 p.m., according to a narrative of the event provided by the Metropolitan Police Department. The suspect drew a gun and forced the victim into a home, where the suspect demanded money.

After the victim handed over the money, the suspect assaulted the victim before fleeing down an alley into the 2500 block of I Street, according to the narrative. The case is still under investigation.

The incident took place two blocks from campus but students did not receive a University alert. Alerts are typically sent out when officials deem there is an ongoing threat to the campus community, whether it’s when the University Police Department responds to or is made aware of a potentially dangerous situation, or when MPD shares information about an incident they’re responding to on campus.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said she was unaware of the incident until about 12 p.m. Friday. MPD did not inform the University of the incident until “many hours later” so officials did not see the need to send out an alert, she said.

“An alert is sent out when there’s an ongoing immediate threat to the campus community,” Csellar said. “This is information we learned hours after this happened.”

This policy on alerts has been called into question before: Officials said they didn’t send out an alert to the campus community after a man attempted to sexually abuse two female students near the Foggy Bottom Metro station two years ago because the man was arrested.

MPD spokeswoman Aquita Brown said in an email that MPD prioritizes student safety and that officers work with school officials to report on-campus incidents in a timely manner. In this case, the reporting process was different because the incident took place off campus, she said.

“In situations like this it is up to the victim to determine whether they want to inform campus officials about the offense, as MPD doesn’t want to violate the victims’ privacy rights,” she said.

Brown did not respond to a question clarifying MPD’s policy on how their officials communicate with GW about off-campus events compared to on-campus incidents.

Communication between MPD and the University Police Department has been questioned before. In 2013, GW’s security chief said miscommunication between the two departments led to confusion over two gun threats on campus, including a slow response from D.C. police who responded to an armed robbery on campus.

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A report of a potential shooting Tuesday night turned out to be unfounded, GW’s top safety official said.

Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said in an email Wednesday that a student reported to the University Police Department shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday that he saw a man whom he thought was holding a gun near 20th and F Streets. The student told UPD that the man was walking toward F Street in front of Francis Scott Key Hall and seemed wounded, Darnell said.

GW then issued an alert at 11:25 p.m. telling students and community members on the Foggy Bottom campus stay indoors and avoid the area.

UPD and Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to the scene, interviewed the witness and asked for a description of the man, searched the area and inspected security camera footage from the area, Darnell said.

“Finding no evidence of a shooting or a suspect in the area matching the witness description, GWPD issued an all clear notice to allow the GW community to return to normal activity,” he said. “We appreciate that our community member saw something and said something, which enabled us to properly investigate a potential harmful situation.”

Darnell said that GW sends out the alerts after the University receives a report of an incident that could be an “ongoing threat that may affect the safety of the GW community.”

“During these situations, information changes quickly and the university provides updates with the most accurate information it has until the incident is resolved,” Darnell said.

MPD spokesman Hugh Carew said MPD responded to the call of an armed person and investigated the incident.

“Nothing was found,” he said.

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Updated: Oct. 5, 2016 at 12:16 a.m.

Officers from the University and Metropolitan police departments responded to a possible shooting at 20th and F streets Tuesday night, according to a GW alert.

Students were advised to stay indoors and lock their doors while police responded to the incident, according to the alert sent around 11:30 p.m.

GW sent another alert at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday that the incident was “all clear” and that students could return to their normal activities.

The alert did not include information about suspects or how police got the tip.

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The total number of burglaries on the Foggy Bottom campus nearly doubled between 2014 and last year, according to new crime data released Friday.

Twenty burglaries occurred on the campus in 2015, compared to 11 burglaries the year before, according to crime data in GW’s annual security report. Only 12 of last year’s burglaries were reported to the Metropolitan Police Department, compared to the year before when all 11 burglaries were reported directly to the University Police Department.

The data, which the University Police Department releases every year, covers crime statistics from 2013 to 2015 on all of GW’s campuses.

The number of burglaries on the Foggy Bottom Campus dropped by 70 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to data released last year. Officials said the number dropped last year after UPD arrested an individual responsible for a string of burglaries in 2013.

UPD Chief RaShall Brackney said in a release Friday that UPD leans toward using the more serious term “burglary” when deciding whether to classify a crime as a burglary or a theft.

UPD added the Corcoran Flagg Building as a separate location on the report because it is far enough from the Foggy Bottom campus’s other buildings. There were no crimes reported in the building, according to the report. The Alexandria Graduate Education Center, Graduate Education Center Arlington, the Hampton Roads Center and the Hall of the States building were also added to the report.

On-campus drug arrests decreased by almost half last year, and MPD made all six of the drug-related arrests, according to the report. There were 11 drug arrests per year on campus in both 2013 and 2014: UPD made all of those arrests.

Disciplinary referrals for drugs on campus decreased by a quarter last year, according to the report. There were 152 referrals for drug violations last year, compared to 203 the year before.

The number of arrests for alcohol violations on the Foggy Bottom Campus rose from one to six last year, and the disciplinary referrals for the alcohol violations increased by about 7 percent. Eight additional referrals for alcohol violations occurred on the Mount Vernon Campus last year, according to the report.

The number of alcohol violation referrals increased last year because students are more aware of the dangers of alcohol, Brackney said.

“We’re becoming a more responsible campus in a lot of ways, and students have an increased understanding of the impacts of alcohol, both short-term and long-term,” she said.

Twenty-two rapes were reported on the Foggy Bottom campus last year, which is one fewer than the number reported in 2014. Eighteen of last year’s incidents were reported to non-police staff members, like the Sexual Assault Response Consultative Team, which is a group of administrators who respond to sexual assault survivors’ reports. A greater share of rape reports were directly reported to MPD instead of UPD, according to the crime data.

Three of the rape reports were made to MPD last year, and only one was reported to UPD. Two additional rapes on the Mount Vernon campus were reported to non-police officials, according to the report.

Students are increasingly aware of on-and-off-campus sexual violence resources, which is why more students are reporting sexual assaults to police and other staff, Brackney said.

“The more reports we can capture, the better we are able to educate and train to deter incidences of sexual violence and disrupt trajectories of crime on campus,” Brackney said.

There has also been an increase in the number of reported instances of dating violence on campus last year, with 10 reports from 2015 compared to none the year before and one report in 2013.

The crime report also includes statistics about on-campus fires and the total costs for each fire. The report shows that the fire on Fulbright Hall’s roof last September had total damages adding up to $21,000. All three of the fires in the building that academic year were caused by cigarettes, officials said last year.

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Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 5:10 p.m.

JBKO evacuated after burner left on

Residents were evacuated from JBKO after a burner was left on in the building. Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Residents were evacuated from JBKO after a burner was left on in the building. Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

JBKO was evacuated at about 4 p.m. Saturday after a burner was left on in a resident’s room, University spokesman Brett Zongker said.

University Police Department officers and D.C. Fire and EMS responded to the scene.

UPD officers asked residents to wait down the street away from the building. Residents were allowed back in JBKO Hall at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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Police blocked traffic near Funger Hall for about two hours because of a car crash Monday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Police blocked traffic near Funger Hall for about two hours because of a car crash Monday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Police blocked traffic at the intersection of 22nd and G streets for about two hours Monday after a bus hit a moving car.

The Martz bus and a black Audi sedan were both turning on 22nd Street toward G Street when the accident happened around 3:30 p.m., Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Rachel Schaerr said. MPD and University Police Department officers responded to the scene and closed vehicular traffic on G Street in front of Funger Hall.

The accident caused property damage, but there were no injuries, Schaerr said.

UPD officers directed traffic toward 22nd Street until about 5:30 p.m., when the car was towed.

The woman driving the car declined to give her name or a comment on the accident, citing insurance reasons.

Ryan Lasker contributed reporting.

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A person affiliated with the University reported a non-forcible purse snatching in the back of Guthridge Hall, according to an alert sent to students Saturday evening.

There were no weapons involved in the robbery, according to the alert sent around 6:30 p.m. The suspects are four or five men in their late teens on bicycles, according to the alert.

Officers in the University Police Department will remain on the scene while investigating the incident, according to the alert.

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Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced she will resign from her position in MPD Tuesday to take a job leading security for the National Football League. Katie Causey | Hatchet file photo

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced she will resign from her position in MPD Tuesday to take a job leading security for the National Football League. Katie Causey | Hatchet file photo

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced Tuesday that she will resign from her position next month to head security for the National Football League.

Lanier, who has been MPD’s chief for 10 years and on the force for 26 years, said she decided to take the job for the unique opportunity it provided for her, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Lanier’s time as MPD chief is longer than usual for chiefs, who usually stay for three or four years. D.C.’s first female police chief said she turned down offers to head other police city departments because “I owe my life to this city and to MPD.”

“This is the nation’s capital,” Lanier told The Washington Post. “What’s more important than being responsible for public safety and security than the nation’s capital? Where do you go from here right? When I thought about the NFL, it’s America’s favorite sport and what’s more important than making sure America’s favorite sport is safe?”

Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will appoint an interim chief in the next few days and then start the search for the new permanent chief, according to The Post.

“She’s built a fantastic force, professionalized the force, built a force that the community trusts which is going to be a lasting legacy,” Bowser told The Post.

Lanier earned two degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a masters from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Lanier headed the department amid the city’s homicide spike last year, with the homicide rate increasing by 54 percent in 2015, according to MPD crime data. The department also created a Robbery Intervention Task force in January to combat an increase in robberies in the city.

City officials also responded to the crime spike by confiscating illegal guns from the streets. The city recovered more than 1,600 guns in 2015, according to MPD data.

Lanier also headed MPD during communication mishaps with the University Police Department. In 2013, both MPD and UPD mishandled a pair of gun threats on campus: MPD officers waited hours to inform UPD about an armed robbery on campus, and UPD waited 15 minutes to inform MPD about a reported gun threat in South Hall, which turned out to be unfounded.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016 7:14 p.m.

22-year-old man stabbed on 25th and I streets

Updated: June 17, 2016 at 5:49 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writers Robin Eberhardt and Catherine Moran.

A 22-year-old man was stabbed early Wednesday morning at 25th and I streets and taken to GW Hospital, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.

The victim reported to the Metropolitan Police Department that he was “accosted” by an unknown man after he left a party, according to the report. He told police that he remembers “feeling a sharp pain in his side” and passing out on the sidewalk in front of a townhouse at 2520 I Street, according to the report.

The stabbing occurred at 3:37 a.m., according to an alert MPD sent Wednesday morning.

A person unknown to police called the victim’s cousin on the victim’s phone. The victim’s cousin arrived and found him “covered in blood,” according to the report.

Thinking he fell down, the cousin took the victim back to his house. The cousin observed “deep lacerations” to the victim’s abdomen, side, chest and left arm, and he took the victim to the GW Hospital, according to the report.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email Wednesday that MPD did not notify the University about the incident, and the University Police Department did not respond. The University did not issue an alert about the stabbing.

This post was updated to not include the name of the person who reported the crime.

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A black man wearing a black t-shirt and pants sexually assaulted a female on 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Tuesday afternoon, according to an alert.

The man was 5 feet 7 inches tall and around 130 pounds, according to the alert students received at 4:16 p.m. Tuesday. The alert said he was in his mid- to late 20s and had short hair.

He “approached the victim, engaged in conversation and then grabbed her in an inappropriate manner, and fled the area,” according to the alert.

Officers in the University Police Department searched the area “with negative results,” according to the alert.

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