Police logs only show campus crime, officials say

Because most sexual assaults don’t occur on campus, there is no way the TCU Police Department can accurately inform students about how many sexual assaults students experience, TCU Police said.Under a federal law known as the Clery Act, TCU Police must provide an updated crime log, but Crime Prevention Officer Pamela Christian said the crime log alone does not paint the whole picture.

The TCU crime logs report three sexual assaults at TCU during the past four years, but Christian said this number is far below what the actual statistics are.

According to the American Medical Association, 65 percent of sexual assaults are unreported.

“Sexual assault is the No. 1 most unreported crime in America,” Christian said. “Out of the assaults which actually get reported to us, the crime logs only have to show the crimes which occurred on university property. Since most assaults occur off campus, the logs don’t actually reflect the real number of assaults.”

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to maintain a public crime log, publish crime statistics and issue appropriate crime warnings, according to the U.S. Department of Education Web site.

The law is named after a college freshman in Pennsylvania who was raped and murdered in her dorm room nearly 20 years ago.

The act was passed because many colleges refused to provide detailed information to students and their families about campus crime – including rapes and sexual assaults, according to the Security on Campus Organization.

The information the Clery Act requires TCU to make available is much less than what police departments at public universities, which are covered by state and federal open-records laws, are required to provide. The act does not require universities to release individual incident reports that have details about each crime.

But, Christian said, TCU is always forthcoming with information that would affect student safety.

“If we are aware of any crime, especially sexual assault, which we feel is not an isolated incident, we get that information out to the student body as soon as possible,” Christian said. “Student safety is our main priority.”

Glory Robinson, associate dean of Campus Life, said she thinks the Clery Act is extremely beneficial to students.

“We all have the tendency to think we live in a bubble,” Robinson said. “We all have to remain vigilant, even at TCU.”

Megan Barro, a junior psychology major, said she wishes the university could do more to inform students about the outcome of sexual assault cases.

“I always get these e-mail alerts when there is a sexual assault,” Barro said. “But I never find out if they get solved.”