By Nicole Brems
Many have wondered if they are safe on the college campus. For the past two decades there has been a system in place for college students to find out about crime statistics on their college campus.
In 1986 19 year old Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Cleary was raped and murdered by a fellow student in her campus residence hall. Following this the Cleary Act was signed into law in 1990. Originally called the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, the law puts certain measures in place for student and staff safety and knowledge of incidents on campus.
The number one thing required by the Cleary Act is the security report, which needs to be available by October 1st of each year. The report covers topics such as: criminal homicide, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and liquor and drug law violations. The report shows the past three years of crime statistics.
Another thing each school is required to have is a crime log, which is a public record, which has the last 60 days worth of information. Each incident must include the nature, date, time, and general location of the crime committed, or complaint that was made. The logs must be kept on file for seven years and made available to the public who requests it within two business days.
The Cleary Act also requires timely warnings about crimes in progress on campuses. In recent years this part of the Act has gotten a lot of scrutiny. In 2007 during the first shooting at Virginia Tech the first warnings about the shooter weren’t issued until two hours after the first person was killed. The University was later, in 2011, issued a fine of $55,000 was failing to issue a timely warning.
At SCCC the Cleary Report was posted to the school website about a week late. According to Director of Fire and Public Safety Baycan Fideli, it was because he noticed there were errors in the definitions of the crimes in the beginning of the report.
The Cleary Report for 2010 showed that the category under which the most crimes were committed were motor vehicle theft, including five on the Grant campus and six on the Ammerman campus. According to Fideli there will soon be a 360* camera mounted to the parking lot 3 security booth. The camera will cost $6,000 but, he thinks it’ll be worth the costs and hopefully will prevent crime in these parking lots.
But, there is a side of the problem that the report doesn’t show- car accidents on campus. According to the crime log there was thirty reported motor vehicle accidents between September 12th and 9am on October 27th. These are only the reported accidents; many more could have happened and went unreported. According to Fideli most the accidents happen on the straight aways and not the turns, with the exception of the corner behind parking lot 5 on the Ammerman campus.
Fideli said he is currently working with an architect to redesign the parking lots to ease traffic flow. He hopes to put a traffic circle near the Coleman Rd entrance and through redesign of the grassy areas hopes to add up to 400 parking spaces, which cost about $2,000 a spot.
In the future Fideli hopes to redesign the security part of the school website, making it easier to access. He hopes to put up information to help prevent crime instead of dealing with the after effects.