Volume 94, Issue 34

Tuesday, October 31, 2000


NEWS

It was a complete ambush: Rubinoff

New code raises old concerns

Triplets still missing

UWO union workers poised to strike

The Crime Scene

Campus Briefs

US college crime stats now on Web

Elections signs vandalized

Corroded Disorder

US college crime stats now on Web

By Lindsay Satterthwaite
Gazette Staff



Looking to read rap sheets for Duke, Michigan or UCLA? Thanks to a new online college crime database in the US, anyone with the Internet can now do just that.

"This is the first year we have posted the crime statistics online," said Jane Glickman, spokesperson for the US Department of Education. "Once all the schools have submitted their statistics, there will be 6,700 schools on the Website," she said, adding the site was launched last week.

US law requires all two-year and four-year post-secondary institutions to submit their on-campus crime statistics annually, Glickman said.

"We thought it would be easier for the schools to submit their information [electronically]," she said, explaining in the past, schools had to mail their results in and the public had to call in and have the stats mailed to them.

So far, the new process appears to be more efficient and inexpensive than the old way of doing things, she added.

Diane Brown, a spokesperson for the University of Michigan, said she supported online crime statistics. "The more information people know, the better. Putting it all on the Web makes it much more readily available to the public," she commented.

Included in the statistics are crimes that occur off main campuses but on property owned and operated by universities, such as fraternity houses, Brown explained.

The statistics listed are mostly crimes against persons which encompass sex offences, assault and manslaughter, as well as minor crimes such as liquor violations, possession of weapons and drug abuse, Brown said.

One concern is how people will use or misuse the information, she cautioned. "For example, it is unfair to compare crime of a school with a large residence population to a school with a majority of commuters," she explained."We just hope that people don't jump to conclusions."

Insp. Bob Earle, manager of police services at Western, agreed with Brown's concerns. "It appears that all the stats are on a level field of comparison when they're not," he added.

Currently, there are no laws in Canada that require universities and colleges to post crime statistics, he said.

"Western does report their statistics in the broadest crime categories on the Western Website," he said, but added the site is not updated frequently due to a lack of resources.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000