With crime-reporting requirements growing in complexity, college security forces are moving to automate their annual Clery Act filings.
Passed in 1990 following the rape and murder of a freshman at Lehigh University, the act requires all higher education institutions that participate in federal financial-aid programs to publish an annual report detailing campus crimes.
Currently, a lot of schools are falling short, and the Department of Education is losing patience. In 2013, DOE issued $1.4 million in fines, almost equal to the amount levied in the previous 22 years combined.
While one study has suggested that some universities are deliberately underreporting campus crimes, the majority of schools seem to be failing for another reason: They cannot keep pace with the rapid changes and growing complexity of the reporting requirements.
“It’s not because schools are dragging their feet,” said Tim Fox, director of public safety at Loyola University Maryland. “It’s just that there are multiple layers: Some of the guidance from the Department of Justice and DOE has been changing. It hasn’t been easy to keep up with those pieces, especially from the standpoint of reporting and inspections.”