By: Yeskanisayka Urbina/Contributing Writer
The FIU Police Department is required to tell the University community about the crimes committed on campus each year, all thanks to the Jeanne Clery Act.
Colleges and universities are required to collect on-campus crime statements and publish an annual statistics report by Oct. 1 to fulfill the requirements of the law, which came about after the murder of Jeanne Clery.
Jeanne Clery was a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986, Clery’s death led to her parents questioned the university, asking why wasn’t security reinforced.
The college then released incidents of suspicious behaviors and break-ins on the campus at the time, leading up to Clery’s death. These incidents were not reported beforehand.
“This would’ve been information that the student should have known about because maybe she would’ve protected herself better, maybe she would’ve locked her door, because her door was unlocked,” said Alexis Fernandez, FIUPD compliance analyst.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act was then formed as a protection and federal law that entails campuses to disclose crime statistics and security information.
In accordance with the Act, FIUPD released their 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report this fall.
The report contains information on crime statistics that occurred on each campus in the previous years, including two years’ worth of statistics.
Crimes that are considered when collecting numbers include murder/homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, liquor law arrests and more.
FIUPD has to issue policies for emergency notifications and timely warnings, gathers police reports, complaints, campus security cases, and submit them to the Department of Education as part of the Act. They must also participate in trainings to be on top of reporting guidelines.
The Police Department must issue notifications, alerting the community within a reasonable time period for an through visual and audible messages. Voice calls, voicemail, text messages, and FIU network emails are some of the communication methods when notifying the campus community about a threat.
“The act is very big and the trainings are intense. We take it very serious, we follow it methodically, and we do our best to inform our campus community about it,” said Fernandez.
The annual report shows that the majority of the statistics are counted from the Modesto Maidique Campus and housing, which FIUPD Chief Alexander Casas said is due to population numbers at MMC, which are much higher than that at the Biscayne Bay Campus.
From 2015-2017, the statistics show an overall decline in most crimes across both main campuses and the satellite campuses in Italy and China.
The University’s police department also considers complaints, threats, and cases from The Counseling and Psychological Services when collecting cases to report on the statistics, according to Fernandez.
Misconducts and corruptions that are not reported within the annual report can result in the institution to be fined and suspended from contributing in financial aid programs.
In 2018’s Campus Safety Magazine, it stated that the University of Montana was fined almost $1 million for not reporting statistics accurately of rape cases and liquor store violations through 2012-2015.
“The idea that knowledge is power is true. If you are informed of safety preventions, how student conduct handles cases… I think that it makes you aware of your own personal safety as well for the community’s safety,” said Fernandez.
Copies of the annual report contain crime prevention programs information for students and employees, such as the Victim Empowerment Program and Self-Defense Awareness and Familiarization Exchange classes.
The report may be obtained in PG5 Market Station at MMC or online at police.fiu.edu.