Safe Statistics

It can be difficult to extract meaning from statistics. Changing situations mean the context isn’t always the same. We tried to consider all factors when we compiled our report.mple’s crime.

Today’s special report in the news section details crime trends on and around Temple’s campus. Trying to find out exactly how much crime there is and whether it is increasing or decreasing inevitably leads to issues, and this was no exception.

The Campus Safety Services statistics show a substantial increase from the Spring 2008 semester to the Fall 2008 semester in most crimes. However, those statistics don’t take into account many other factors in crime. For example, in the fall semester there are freshmen who may be more likely to walk into unsafe situations. In the spring, they are more accustomed to their surroundings and aware of guidelines to keep themselves safe.

Weather factors into crime frequency, too. During the summer, crime tends to be more prevalent. Since the brunt of winter happens in the spring semester, crime is inherently lower in the spring semester.

Changes in student-living situations can alter crime statistics. Though there are no solid data to prove it, it is likely there are substantially more students living off campus today. The influx of a larger freshman class and Tyler School of Art students probably pushed more students off campus, where security is not as prevalent, and there are more risks.

The TU-Alert and TU Advisory systems are equally nuanced. As noted in the report, TU-Alerts are used for immediate danger when students need to be given information as soon as possible. TU Advisories usually let students know an incident took place.

Even given the two different notifications, there are still inevitable problems with notifying thousands of students within minutes. If there were an attacker on campus, he or she could easily move from building to building within minutes. The TU-Alert couldn’t tell students about a single danger zone to avoid because there might not be one. An alert should still be sent out, of course, but situations can change so fast that detailed directives could be difficult.

We tried to take all these factors into consideration when compiling our report. There will always be discrepancies between reported crimes and actual crimes, but we attempted to take into account any context behind the statistics to the fullest extent we could.

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