Clery Act: A Tool for Students’ Safety

UWG’s annual crime statistics report is easily accessible for students to track criminal activity on campus in order to stay safe. Thanks to the Clery Act, all public and private institutions of postsecondary education participating in federal student aid programs are required to release an annual campus security report to the public.This federal law of 1990 was enacted in honor of Jeanne Clery, who was sexually assaulted in her residence hall room and murdered at Lehigh University in 1986.

Per Clery Act requirements, all reports must reveal crime statistics ranging from drug possession to sexual assault and murder for the campuses and surrounding areas. Clery Act Coordinator, Lt. Mike Keener, is responsible for preparing and publishing UWG’s Annual Crime and Fire Safety Report.

“I joke actively that the only four people on campus who read this are me, the university attorney, who reviews it, the president and our chief because no one really cares about this stuff,” said Keener. “And the sad truth is they really should. The parents should care, and the students themselves should take personal responsibility for their own safety and should be aware of the crimes that occur in whatever area they live in.

“The active choice that students can take is to educate themselves on the Clery Act,” continued Keener. “And more specifically, through the Clery Act, educate themselves on the risk of crimes that occur on campus and resources that can assist with those crimes should they occur. A big part of the Clery Act is to give information about what the disciplinary processes are and information on what resources are available to victims of crimes on campus.”

Kenner uses daily crime logs to track on-campus crimes and collaborates with the Carrollton Police Department through shift rollups. The shift rotation reports get forwarded from the chief of police and inform UWG Police Department of any crime that could qualify within UWG’s geographical limitations. 

“I will actually look at them and add whatever is appropriate to our crime log, based on the rules that Clery has, which are many and varied,” said Keener. “I read every incident report when it comes in.

“And so does our investigative team, and so do our patrol lieutenants, who are over our actual patrol officers,” continued Keener. “That data is used in real-time to adjust strategies.”

Although the Reports are primarily created for students and parents, they are of great use to the UWG Police Department, who rely on the statistics to be reactive and proactive. UWG officers can determine crime uptakes and patterns allowing them to develop new strategies to better ensure student safety each semester.

“Homecoming is a good example,” said Keener. “People complain a lot about excessive officer presence at homecoming. The background of that is that in 2014, 2015, 2016, there were a lot of homecoming related incidents in the city.

“We know this can be a very violent night, and we have people from Atlanta, who aren’t associated with our campus, coming out to party with our students— some of them are gang members or otherwise near do wells,” continued Keener. “So, we will increase our patrol during those time frames to suppress that activity to protect our students.”

With just a few clicks on the UWG’s website, students can view the current 2019 annual crime report. However, the 2019 report only mentions crimes from 2016 to 2018, not those that occured in 2019 because when it came out on Oct.1 the year was not over yet. More crimes were likely to happen for the three remaining months by the end of 2019.

“If you want to know what’s going on around campus, look at the crime logs,” said Keener. “The point of a crime log is to allow people to have that ready instant access to what’s going on.

“Now per the Clery rules, the crime log has to be available during normal business hours, and putting it online is part of meeting that requirement,” continued Keener. “It’s always available.” 

Keener updates the daily crime logs according to the Clery rules. The daily crime logs are all digital, which makes them easy to maintain and to edit. The crime logs are accessible from anywhere by anyone. Each month is set on a separate page listing the crimes with the necessary information for each incident. The data includes the date the incident was reported, when it occurred, the location and nature of the incident and case number.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 annual report’s distribution deadline has been extended to Dec. 31. It will only report crimes that occur from 2017 to 2019.



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