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Breaking down the Clery Report: what you need to know

Last Friday, Chief of Police Paul Dillon released the 2018 UMBC Clery Report, detailing crime and other incidents that have taken place throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. The Clery Report is a location-based report, meaning that the crimes and incidents it counts occur either “on-campus, in off-campus university buildings, in property owned or controlled by the university, or on public property immediately adjacent to the campus.” Conversely, Title IX practices affiliation-based reporting and covers incidents including UMBC students even off-campus.

In the midst of the recent allegations that UMBC has mishandled sexual assault cases, the Clery Report provides a quantifiable glimpse into the on-campus incidents reported over the past year. Along with crime statistics, the Clery Act requires universities to publish a fire log. Additionally, beginning Oct. 1, the state of Maryland will require all public institutions of higher education to send out notifications alerting campus of hate-bias incidents through House Bill 511.

The UMBC report, along with the eleven other University of Maryland schools, also includes statistics for the Universities at Shady Grove.

What is the Clery Act?

Jeanne Clery was a 19-year old student at Lehigh University in 1986 when she was raped and subsequently murdered in her residence hall by a fellow student. Her parents, who believed they were not adequately warned of the dangers their daughter might face in college, campaigned for four years after Clery’s death for policy changes that would require universities to report crime statistics.

Finally, in 1990, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or the Clery Act, was signed. It requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose records of location-based crime by Oct. 1 of each year.

The Clery Report breaks down instances of crime into different categories, so if a crime does not fall under one of the 20 categories, it does not have to be represented within the Clery Report. In addition to combing through their own data software, the police department meets with the UMBC Title IX office quarterly to compile data for the Clery Report. The Title IX office also has their own daily incident log which is updated regularly. It also reports all instances of unfounded crimes, which can be given that title by all police departments, including both the UMBC police department and the Baltimore County Police Department. The UMBC police keep an updated daily crime log where all campus police-reported incidents are cataloged.

Along with the Clery Report, police departments are required to send out Clery Timely Warnings, or security alerts, notifying students of potential threats on campus and offering instructions on how to keep themselves safe. While the Clery Act does not define what is timely, Police Chief Paul Dillon, who has been at the university for eight years, tries to reach students as soon as possible, describing UMBC’s text alert system as the “backbone” of this notification requirement. Emails, Twitter and Facebook updates are also used.

On keeping the campus notified of incidents occurring on campus, Dillon acknowledges that his department has failed in finding ways to meet with students amidst all of their other academic responsibilities. “Students are busy – but that’s not an excuse. We need to find ways to reach out to students,” he said.

UMBC Crime Statistics

Violations of liquor laws, including both underage drinking and open carry, among others, remain the highest reported crime on the UMBC campus, with 163 liquor law referrals given out last academic year. There were 11 reported burglaries and six reported cases of rape. No crimes were unfounded by the Baltimore County Police Department in 2017.

Some other counts:

  • Dating Violence — six
  • Stalking — five
  • Motor Vehicle Theft — two

Since the decriminalization of marijuana, the Clery statistics counting drug law referrals have drastically fallen. In 2015, there were 37 cases resulting in drug law referrals, but in 2016 and 2017 there were only nine and five, respectively.

Correction: An earlier version of this post asserted that only the Baltimore County Police Department can mark cases as unfounded. However, all police departments can mark cases as unfounded.