Crime Data in the USA

University fined for misreporting crime data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a piece about the University of Texas at Arlington being fined for improperly classifying and reporting a number of crimes which took place on its campus:

For misclassifying crimes and underreporting disciplinary actions, the U.S. Department of Education has fined the University of Texas at Arlington $82,500, a penalty the institution is appealing.

The department imposed the fine last month under the federal campus-crime reporting law known as the Clery Act, each violation of which can cost an institution $27,500. According to a review by the department in 2011, the Arlington campus had improperly classified a forcible sex offense as an assault and an aggravated assault as an assault of a family member. Both crimes occurred in 2008.


Also that year, the department found, the university excluded 27 liquor, drug, and weapons violations—classified as “disciplinary actions”—from crime statistics that by law must be submitted to federal officials and distributed publicly each year. On that count, the department imposed a third $27,500 fine.

Similar fines have just been levied against Yale:

Yale failed to report a total of four forcible sex offenses in its campus crime statistics for 2001 and 2002, according to an April 19 letter from Mary E. Gust, director of administrative actions and appeals service group at the DOE. As a result, the department is fining the university $27,500 for each offense, the letter said. The Connecticut Ivy League university also received a $27,500 fine for failing to include seven required policy statements in its annual crime reports, and another $27,500 for not including crime statistics from Yale-New Haven Hospital in its annual campus crime data.

It always surprises me that there is such a strict federal requirement on crime reporting at US universities. Given the potentially negative consequences though it is perhaps hardly surprising that there are occasional errors in classification. And the crimes on US campuses do tend to be significantly worse than those here, especially given the availability of guns at some institutions (as noted in this previous post).

How long before HESA start collecting this data in the UK?

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