Database Will List Campus Crime Figures
BOSTON — High-schoolers weighing their college options soon will be able to see college crime statistics nationwide by tapping into a new online database being compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.
The databank will include numbers from colleges and universities around the country and Canada, detailing the number of crimes — from hate crimes to homicides — committed on and off each campus.
“It’s going to be kind of one-stop shopping,” says John King, head of security at Tufts University in Medford and president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. “Instead of having to gather information from four or five different schools, now you can just go to one place and compare.”
Colleges have been required to compile and make available their annual crime statistics since the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act was enacted in 1990.
The law, named for a Lehigh University freshman who was killed in her dorm room in 1988, was revised in 1998 to require the Education Department to compile and analyze the nationwide data, and present it to Congress each year.
Now, that information will be readily available online for students to consider when choosing a college or university to attend.
Campus security leaders from more than 300 schools around the world were briefed on the new database last month in Boston during the campus law association’s annual conference.
Education officials will begin to compile the first round of statistics in August and plan to present the 2000 numbers to Congress for review in December.
“We will collect and analyze the data and then move it over for the public to see,” says David Bergeron, a spokesman for the Department of Education. “We have faith that colleges will only provide us with correct information.”
To ensure that the most accurate numbers are put in the department’s database, schools will be given passwords to gain entry to the system, he says. The agency will then analyze the information and post it on the Web site. The information will be updated annually.
Under the Clery Law, schools provide numbers on a variety of on- and off-campus crimes, including homicides, sex crimes, robberies, car theft, hate crimes and liquor- and drug-law violations. The off-campus crimes included in the database are from areas close to the campus.
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