Friday April 13, 2001
Contact: Charles McFadden
NO DELIBERATE UNDER-REPORTING OF CAMPUS
CRIME STATISTICS, BUT METHODOLOGY NEEDS TIGHTENING, UC TASK FORCE
REPORTS; RECOMMENDATIONS TO BE SHARED NATIONALLY
University of California campuses should make a number of adjustments
to improve how they keep and report crime statistics, but there
has been no deliberate under-reporting of crime, a systemwide task
force has concluded in a report released today.
The task force said there were even some
instances of campuses over-reporting crimes.
UC's task force was formed on Sept. 28, 2000
by Joseph Mullinix, UC senior vice president for business and finance,
to review how well campuses were complying with the federal Clery
Act. That law sets forth requirements on how campus crime statistics
should be kept and classified, along with requirements that students,
staff and faculty be kept informed of the availability of crime
statistics. The act was named in memory of Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh
University student who was raped and murdered on campus in 1986.
The task force received an independent assessment
of campus compliance from Dolores A. Stafford, the police chief
of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Chief Stafford
is a nationally recognized expert on campus crime reporting.
Mullinix said the task force's work was valuable
and should be shared nationwide.
"The task force's work represents the
most comprehensive and systematic look at compliance with the Clery
Act undertaken by any major university," Mullinix said. "While
the task force's report concentrates on compliance within the UC
system, campus crime is not confined to any single campus, or university
system, or state. We therefore will make the report available to
other campuses nationally in the hope that it might prove useful
"This report from the University of
California will be enormously helpful to colleges and universities
nationwide," said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for
government and public affairs at the American Council on Education.
"No other college or university that we know of has undertaken
such a thorough review of compliance with the Clery Act. The provisions
of the act are so complex, and the reporting requirements so difficult
for campuses to meet, a report like this will prove itself an invaluable
guide for other institutions to follow. We are indebted to the UC
system for undertaking such an important, and time-consuming effort.
This document will be used again and again by colleges, I assure
There were several instances of over-reporting
cited in the report. At UC Irvine, one category listed 140 liquor
law arrests when only 14 were found in the records. At UC Riverside,
73 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations were reported,
but only 65 incidents could be found in the records. At UC Davis,
DUI alcohol offense totals were reported when they were not required
to be reported.
In a separate action, the university also
released today its point-by-point reply to questions raised by a
U.S. Department of Education review of Clery Act compliance among
UC campuses. In general, the UC reply said while there were instances
where campuses had not fully complied with all requirements of the
act because of reporting inconsistencies and statistical misclassifications,
steps are underway to bring all UC campuses into full compliance.
The problems of misclassifications and reporting
inconsistencies were also addressed by the task force, which blamed
many campus reporting errors on misinterpretations of Clery Act
requirements. In addition, some procedures for disseminating crime
data did not meet the act's requirements, again because of misunderstanding
or misinterpretation. The report said there were also some instances
where lack of resources contributed to the misclassifications.
"There was no evidence that campuses
deliberately underreported crime. In fact, some campuses over reported
crimes," the task force reported.
One cause of problems, the task force pointed
out, is the varying crime definitions contained in the FBI's Uniform
Crime Code, the California Penal Code, and the Clery Act itself.
Various reporting agencies used different definitions, causing variations
in campus crime statistics and non-compliance.
Some of the campus-to-campus inconsistencies
the task force uncovered include:
are not always consistent because of the differing
crime definitions contained in the FBI's Uniform Crime
Code, the California Penal Code, and the Clery Act;
for instance, some campuses rely on the California
Penal Code definitions, which may differ from the
definitions included in the federal Clery Act.
Some campuses include statistics at all off-campus
sites that have university-related functions (such
as fraternity or sorority houses or medical clinics)
while other campuses do not.
campuses reported crimes according to U.S. Department
of Education definitions, there were variations among
campus reports in additional crime categories such
all campuses describe extensive safety programs within
their written materials and brochures, not all campuses
have statements on the complete list of policies required
by the Clery Act.
is uneven compliance with Clery Act requirements on
notification to prospective staff and faculty of the
availability of crime statistics and the campus security
report, and human resource offices do not have clear
guidance on what type of statement to include in their
Among the task force recommendations:
university should develop a method of reconciling
the varying crime definitions contained in the FBI's
Uniform Crime Code, the California Penal Code, and
the Clery Act.
university should develop a uniform format for reporting
all UC crime statistics
university should establish a single "clearinghouse"
office within systemwide administration to facilitate
consistent campus compliance with the Clery Act, and
a single, high-level executive should be assigned
responsibility for assuring compliance. This office
would establish and maintain a central UC website
on Clery Act Compliance with links to all campus sites.
university should implement systemwide, comprehensive
UC Clery Act compliance guidelines, including "best
university should implement an ongoing training program
and information exchange for all campuses.
The eight-member task
force included representatives from campus police departments,
university administration, student services, legal counsel
and public information.