Clery mistakes corrected at UC

    In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Education verified that discrepancies in the University of California’s crime reporting methods have been rectified.

    The report marked the conclusion of a two-year investigation of the UC system’s procedures in reporting crimes. Specifically, crime-reporting practices at UCSD, UCLA and UC Davis were audited for the year 2000.

    The only complaint aimed directly at UCSD was the campus’ classification of sexual-assault crimes under the broad category of “”physical abuse.”” This led to the exclusion of sex-related crimes from annual campus crime reports that are federally required by the Clery Act.

    Confusion about the sources of crime statistics also contributed to the underreporting of sexual-assault crimes. The Clery Act requires that crimes occurring at off-campus sites such as fraternity houses and medical centers must be included in annual reports. In many cases, such statistics were not included or even gathered in the first place.

    Since the audit, UCSD has specified its definitions of different crimes as to comply with Clery Act definitions. Recent reports now also include statistics collected from other sources, including counselors and coaches, in addition to those compiled by the police department.

    Charles McFadden, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, confirmed that all UC schools have rectified crime reporting methodology.

    “”UC and the Department of Education are now in sync in their interpretations of the Clery Act,”” McFadden said.

    According to UCSD Police’s Sgt. Bob Jones, such issues with crime reporting resulted primarily from confusion about the law, since the definitions of certain crimes differ between the state of California, the FBI and the Clery Act.

    McFadden confirmed the complex nature of the statute.

    “”The Clery Act is an extremely complicated federal law,”” he said. “”It’s subject to many interpretations.””

    Jones, who compiles UCSD’s Clery report every year, also emphasized that even with better compliance with Clery Reports, there is still room for improvement. One problem with the current Clery process, he said, is the intrinsic limit to the statistics the Clery report can make public.

    “”We can only report that which is reported to us,”” Jones said.

    He further noted that the law itself is still “”a work in progress.””

    Jones cited the fact that because Clery crime definitions differ from those of the UC police departments, certain crimes that are reported to the department are not included in Clery statistics. In 2001, for example, five hate crimes were reported to UCSD, but only one of those met Clery’s definition of a hate crime.

    Moreover, certain alcohol-related crimes like drunkenness in public and driving under the influence are not reportable under the Clery Act.

    “”This document has not achieved its ultimate value yet,”” Jones said.

    Problems with how crime statistics should be collected, classified and reported were first brought up in 2000 when the Sacramento Bee exposed deficiencies in sexual assaults reported by UC Davis and other UC schools. In addition to criticizing schools for miscategorizing crimes and failing to compile detailed statistics, the newspaper also accused UC campuses of purposefully omitting statistics to avoid tarnishing their image.

    Security on Campus Inc., a nonprofit watchdog organization, consequently filed a complaint with the Department of Education regarding the Bee’s allegations.

    Connie and Howard Clery lobbied for the Clery Act after their daughter, Jeanne Clery, was raped and murdered in her dorm room at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1986. The law was passed in 1990 and the Clerys have since monitored nationwide compliance with it by establishing Security on Campus Inc.

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