Academic reputations and beautiful campuses are two of the things students look for in college campuses. However, there is a lot more to consider when looking at colleges. One of those things is campus safety. Colleges will impeccable campus safety records usually boost about their records. However, many colleges do not mention campus safety much, if at all, in their marketing materials. Luckily, campus safety information is available for everyone to see.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistic Act, better known as the Clery Act, is all about crime information on college campuses. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal aid program, such as the Pell Grant and Stafford Loans, to disclose crime information. Specifically, colleges and universities are required to:
- Publish an Annual Security Report (ASR). This report is required to be updated every year by October 1 and will document the three previous years of campus crime statistics. This report is required to be available to anyone who requests the information and must be available on the institution website.
- Maintain a public crime log. Most colleges and universities have campus security offices or campus police. These offices are required to maintain a public log documenting the activity, date, time and location of the crime and must be logged without two business days. This log should be available to the public to review upon request.
- Disclose crime statistics on and near campus, including Greek housing and on- campus facilities. This information is gathered from campus police or security and local law enforcement facilities. The report will include information on homicide, sexual offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The report will also provide information on liquor and drug law violations, illegal weapons possession, and hate crime information.
- Issue timely warnings about crimes that pose a threat to students and employees. This can include sending out emails or text messages to the campus community about recent crime and possible threats.
- Devise an emergency response, notification and testing policy. This require institution to inform the campus community about emergencies and have an emergency response plan for crimes related to the Clery Act, as well as other emergencies such as earthquakes and fires.
- Publish an annual fire safety report. Colleges and universities with on-campus housing must report fires that happen in on-campus housing. Institutions must provide an annual report similar to the Annual Security Report and make a fire log available to the public.
- Maintain policies and procedures for handling reports of missing students. This requirement was created to minimize delays during the missing student investigation.
You can get crime information directly from the campuses by doing a simple search on their websites to find out how to receive the information. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security (CSS) website allows you to retrieve information about specific colleges, as well as comparing colleges.
Crime is not something colleges want to advertise. Therefore, students must dig deeper to get information about crime on campus. In addition, it may be worth it to check with the local law enforcement agency for crime surrounding campus. Unfortunately, crime happens everywhere. However, by seeing the trends, students and parents can ask questions about what the campus is doing to make changes. Many things go into choosing colleges to apply and the more information you have about a college, the more educated decision you can make as you are choosing colleges.
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