Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crime Alerts: The Ultimate Stereotype Enhancer

George Washington University is a school in a very urban location. Along with this comes one of the problems that come with living in any city: Crime.

The numbers of robberies around campus this year has increased significantly. Along with each robbery comes an email from GW, explaining the incident and the subject, and read something like this:
Robbery at Gelman Library Starbucks

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, at approximately 12:10pm, a robbery occurred in the Gelman Library Starbucks. A suspect attempted to steal an unattended laptop when a witness stopped him. The suspect forcibly pulled away from the witness, and fled the store with the laptop. The suspect was pursued by another witness and was stopped across the street and the laptop was recovered. The suspect then fled the area and was last seen entering the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. GW Police Officers searched the area for the suspect, but were unable to locate him.

SUBJECT DESCRIPTION: Black male, approximately 6' 1", 130 lbs., wearing a dark colored leather jacket. The suspect was described as being between 17 and 20 years old.

This email was sent over 24 hours later than the crime occurred. Aside from the ridiculous dimensions of the suspect (6'1", 130 pounds?), there is no point in even putting it in the email. There are thousands of 6'1" black men in dark colored jackets that travel across our campus each day, and these suspect descriptions only serve to increase racial profiling.

No one is going to find this specific guy 24 hours after the crime occurred based on the description, and all that students get out of emails like this is that there are black men running around our campus stealing things from people. It's time that GW stopped this ineffective and unnecessary policy.


Anonymous said...

did you really just completely rip off this recent hatchet column without attributing it?

Alex said...

Anonymous, do you really think that hatchet columnist is the only person who reads the crime alerts and notices it's almost always a black guy?

Anonymous said...

The description may not be terribly helpful, but it's better than no description.....