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By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

UPD responds to increase in phone robberies with more patrol units

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University Police will increase patrol units near the west side of campus after a victim reported being beaten and robbed for his cell phone Saturday, the Chief of University Police said Tuesday.

“We are focusing additional staff on the areas where the robberies have been more prevalent, which is the west side of campus,” said Dolores Stafford, who heads UPD.

The increased security follows a report of a man who was robbed and beaten by two young white males at the intersection of 23rd and F streets on Saturday around 11:45 p.m., according to a GW Info alert e-mail. According to the report, the subjects approached the victim and asked if they could borrow the man’s cell phone; when the victim refused, he was punched in the face.

After punching the man and stealing his cell phone, the two subjects allegedly fled the scene, heading westbound on F Street. According to the Crime Alert e-mail, University police officers searched the area for the suspects but were unable to locate them. The victim was treated for minor injuries received as a result of the struggle.

This incident is the third of its kind to happen in the Foggy Bottom area since the beginning of January. This type of crime has also increased around the city, according to the e-mail. While Stafford is assigning additional patrol units to the campus area in order to amplify security efforts, the department is also encouraging students to use 4-RIDE and to walk around in groups on campus.

Robberies in the Foggy Bottom area have been on the up since December, and Metropolitan Police have also increased their efforts to prevent and solve crimes in mid-January, after a similar issue occurred at 23rd and H Streets when a man was approached by a suspect who grabbed the alleged victim’s cell phone out of his hand and fled toward 24th Street.

Sinead Casey, a freshman, said that while she isn’t particularly concerned about the increase in crime on campus over the past month, she plans to follow UPD’s safety guidelines.

“I still feel safe on campus, I just wouldn’t walk alone at night,” Casey said.

UPD’s “Safety Tip” enclosed in the email encouraged walking in groups and discouraged self-defense, stating, “If someone is attempting to rob you, give them your property, which can be replaced. Struggling or fighting with a subject(s) can lead to physical injury of the victim.”

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