The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act was enacted in 1990 in an effort to expand the reporting of crimes on college campuses. It’s virtually impossible to argue with increased reporting and awareness of crimes on campus, but something is still wrong.
As The Temple News reported today, there is some uncertainty as to exactly what crimes should be reported under the Clery Act. The Student Press Law Center asserts that any crime that happens close to campus should be reported in the daily crime report. Temple Police Captain Robert Lowell argues that it’s just not that simple. Apparently, it all comes down to the definition of “adjacent.” Lowell said that “adjacent” means in front of a campus building or directly across the street from a campus building. That means that areas like the Norris Apartments or the houses west of Broad Street are not supposed to be part of the crime report, under the Clery Act.
Lowell goes so far as to say he would like to include more crimes than are technically supposed to be reported. In one case where the police did report a crime outside the parameters set up in Clery Act, the U.S. Department of Education removed it from the report, Lowell said. No matter what the act states, no crime should ever be taken out of the crime report. The real issue here is alerting the university community to crimes, so why not report everything?
The Clery Act was the result of four years of lobbying by Howard Clery and the non-profit organization he and his wife began in 1986 named Security on Campuses. In that year, Clery’s youngest daughter, Jeanne, was raped and murdered while attending Lehigh University. Mr. Clery passed away on Jan. 1 of this year.
If the Clery Act is meant to boost awareness of campus crimes, then campus security organizations that want to report more crimes should be able to. They should not be hindered by the specific phrasings and definitions within the federal law.
Lowell said he would prefer to report everything within Temple Police’s patrolling district. That is a start, but it should be taken further.
If our police respond to a call, we have a right to know about it.