Every year, universities around the country are required to release the numbers of nine different categories of crime as a result of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
Last year’s statistics for crimes committed both on and around the Davis and Sacramento campuses were announced at a press conference in the ARC conference room on Thursday. Overall, the UCD Police Department reported a decrease in forcible sex offenses, motor vehicle theft, arson arrests, drug arrests, weapon arrests, liquor disciplinary actions and liquor arrests.
Notable increases in 2008 include drug disciplinary actions and burglary.
The Clery Act, enacted by Congress in 1990, was created after Lehigh University student Jeanne Anne Clery was raped and murdered in the school’s freshmen residence hall. Her parents were appalled to find that the school had not disclosed 38 other violent crimes in the last three years, so they urged Congress to pass a law requiring this information be public.
“People need to know what is happening in their community,” said UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza in a previous article. “The more they know, the more alert they can be to their surroundings.”
This year’s announcement of the Clery Report was met with controversy, as UC Davis officials disclosed that the numbers of forcible sex offenses for the last three years had been significantly inflated. The inflation was linked to former Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) director Jennifer Beeman.
Beeman declined comment to The Aggie during initial reporting of the inflation.
As a result, the Clery Report cases will now be handled by three panel members instead of just one. Panel members include a uniformed command officer from the UC Davis Police Department, a Clery Act specialist from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and an attorney from the Office of Campus Counsel.
“The problem with the reporting of these statistics was an isolated incident related solely to one individual,” said Robert Loessberg-Zahl, assistant executive vice chancellor at the press conference.
Officials believe that the panel will prevent another incident of overreporting. Having a single person in charge of both hearing cases and reporting Clery numbers was a mistake on their part, as reported in The Sacramento Bee.
“This one person’s poor decision making should not reflect poorly on the program,” Spicuzza said. “And of course, the new panel will keep confidentiality as sacred as it has always been.”
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.