Clery report statistics possibly over-reported for 2014, says University Compliance Services

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Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Clery report statistics related to non-campus, university-owned or affiliated buildings and property may have been inflated for 2014, according to Clery program manager Roxanne King. 

The report shows a steep drop in numbers for the following year, during which report standards were reinforced by University Compliance Services.

The 2015 numbers most likely reflect a more accurate picture of crime within areas deemed reportable by the Clery Act, King said.

Non-campus buildings and property are defined as any location owned, leased or affiliated with the University or a registered student organization, such as a fraternity house. This geographical distinction is unique to the Clery report, whereas other forms of crime reporting, such as the Uniform Crime Report, aren’t as geographically broad. 

“A lot of things we were assuming happened on property we had never asked the geography question, which really we should’ve probably been asking,” Chief Compliance Officer Paul Liebman said. “We assumed if we collected these numbers it happened on our campus, but I think when we looked at the guidance, we realized we were probably overcounting.”

Police jurisdiction and the victim’s or perpetrator’s affiliation with the University are primary reasons why the UCR and Title IX reports differ. 

For example, crimes taking place within the University area are reported as part of the department’s UCR only if they took place within University of Texas Police Department’s jurisdiction, which partially excludes non-campus buildings and property. In the case of Title IX reporting, any incident involving a student, whether as a victim or perpetrator, is included in the report. This makes Title IX reports UT-affiliate exclusive, which is not the case for Clery.

An example of the possible enlargement of 2014 Clery data includes the rape count in non-campus buildings or property, which decreased by nearly three times as much in 2015, falling from 27 rapes to two, according to the Clery report. King said a potential reason for this drop within the span of one year stems from reports relayed from various University institutions, such as the University Health Center or the Counseling and Mental Health Center, neither of which are obligated to report sexual assault cases to the Clery program.

“In 2014 … I had worked with the staff that make those reports in, so it could be that perhaps there was more information this year or less information this year to be able to make those kind of classifications,” King said. “It’s really hard to say when they’re coming from a group that is voluntarily providing their information.”

Numbers for non-campus buildings and property are derived only from the Austin Police Department and additional institutions such as UHS or CMHC. UTPD assists in these cases, but does not include them in their UCR unless they are directly reported to their department. 

UTPD Assistant Chief Peter Scheets said they are working closely with APD to provide assistance in these less strictly defined, off-campus student areas.

“We just went through a Clery review and they’re trying to get us to report fully everything that Clery has asked for,” Scheets said. “A month ago I met with APD, I gave them a list of all those [non-campus] locations, and I said, ‘When you go to these locations to take a report, we’re asking you to notify us and we will respond as well.’”