Crime on campus

By on March 30, 2005

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Clery Act into law as part of the “Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990,” after Jeanne Clery was murdered in 1986 at Lehigh University.

Since then, the federal law requires colleges and universities around the country to publish an annual report by Oct. 1 that explains the last three years of on-campus crimes. All public and private institutions and post-secondary educational institutions that receive federal financial aid programs must also comply.

The report has to be made public to students, employees and anyone else who requests it. The United States Department of Education enforces it, and charges those who do not follow up to a $25,000 fine.

The Quinnipiac University Office of Security and Safety follows these guidelines, and also uses it to determine what offenses are considered a “reportable crime.” Dave Barger, assistant chief of security, explained that anything constituted under the Clery Act is considered a punishable and reportable crime. He said that if an incident is considered a crime, they contact the Hamden Police Department and do further investigation.

Under the Clery Act, crimes are broken down into seven major categories, including criminal homicide, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assaults, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson. Criminal homicide includes murder, nonnegligent manslaughter and negligent manslaughter. Sex offenses include both forcible and non-forcible sex offenses.

In addition to these crimes, schools must also report incidents involving liquor law violations, drug law violations and illegal weapons possession if they result in arrest or a disciplinary referral. Under the Clery Act, only the arrest is counted if both an arrest and referral are made.

The university generated report also has to list any incidents that could be considered hate crimes, especially if it involved bodily injury. Statistics are broken down into on-campus, residential facilities for on-campus students, non-campus buildings, and public property around campus. Dividing the campus into geographic sections makes the report easier to follow and many schools include a map of campus when they file their report with the U.S. Department of Education.

The majority of crimes reported in the crime log in the security office at Quinnipiac include students fighting, stolen property, unwanted guests and drugs and alcohol violations.

Barger said that depending on the crime, they handle each situation differently. Security investigates the problem and many times turns it over to Residential Life. If it is a larger, more serious problem, the crime is turned over to the Hamden Police Department.

Some incidents are difficult to investigate because there is a gray area as to what is considered a crime in the real world as opposed to on a college campus.


About Bethany Dionne