AU students are concerned about the recent fatal mugging of New York Times editor David Rosenbaum earlier this month.
Students who walk to neighborhood jobs are particularly concerned about the attack, which occurred a few blocks from campus.
Katie Maxwell, a sophomore in the School of International Service who teaches piano for a family in Friendship Heights, said she has someone drive her back to campus from her job in the winter because it already dark.
“I don’t feel unsafe, but I have had experiences where I did. After a man followed me on my way to work last year in a pickup truck for several blocks, I had a friend drive me to work whenever possible,” Maxwell said. “I haven’t had any problems this year, but sometimes, I see a lot of police in the area and other times I don’t see any at all.”
Melinda Hall, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, walks to a bus stop in Friendship Heights to get to Bethesda for her babysitting job.
“Prior to this incident, I had a false sense of security,” Hall said. “We always say, ‘this is the Northwest, this is the nice part.’ This happening makes me think more about what I do and that it’s not exactly smart to be alone all the time.”
Both Maxwell and Hall agreed that they would not walk home alone after dark and would refuse a job if walking back alone at night was necessary.
Master Sergeant Kevin Mason of AU Public Safety said Public Safety works with local Metro police to ensure the safety of AU students.
“We usually patrol the perimeter of campus and do drive-throughs in nearby areas such as Brandywine,” Mason said. “We always advise students to walk with others when out at night. Also, call a friend while waiting for the Metro or walking back to campus, if you are in trouble and can’t dial for help, they always can.”
For students who are walking on-campus at night and feel uncomfortable, Mason said that Public Safety offers an escort service. Public Safety also guarantees a ride program to students who are stranded in the city, in which they pay for the cab fair and bill it later to their student account.
Mason said that most AU students are sent to Sibley Hospital when they need a medical transport because “it is the closest.” For off-campus students, the hospital is dependent on whatever facility is nearby.
The D.C inspector general’s office launched an investigation into the emergency medical treatment Rosenbaum received after being mugged near his home on Gramercy Street in Northwest D.C., according to the Washington Post.
It took a medical team from Providence Hospital in Northeast D.C. 23 minutes to reach Rosenbaum after the emergency call was made January 6. The emergency team thought Rosenbaum was intoxicated and gave the trip a low-priority status. They transported him to Howard University Hospital, which took another 25 minutes. Sibley Hospital was two miles closer to the site of the attack than Howard.
Maxwell and Hall expressed concern about the medical treatment of Rosenbaum.
“It’s a problem that it took the emergency medical team 23 minutes to reach him,” Hall said, “It concerns me about what might happen if something happens to me.”
Once at Howard, Rosenbaum remained on a stretcher without receiving medical attention for an hour. After he began to vomit, doctors determined he had a massive head injury; the result of being struck with what police believe was a steel pipe. Rosenbaum died on January 8 despite surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.
The mugging, for which two men were arrested last week, occurred around 9 p.m during Rosenbaum’s after-dinner walk in his upper Northwest neighborhood. A neighbor discovered him at 9:30 p.m on the 3800 block of Gramercy Street, between Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues.
This upscale neighborhood occasionally suffers street robberies, but violent crimes such as homicides are virtually nonexistent.