When violent crimes happen on college campus, officials are required by law to report them.
Colleges are required to file a report called a “Clery report,” which is essentially a summary of crimes that happen on campus.
However if the crime happens several blocks away, colleges said they’re not required to report it, and that has some cities crying foul.
“Some of the activity is just mischief like kicking over garbage cans, throwing litter on people’s lawns,” said New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell.
Surprisingly, the crimes that happen in the neighborhood just off of the Central Connecticut State University campus don’t have to be reported, even though the suspects causing the nuisance complaints are students.
“It doesn’t show up on the Clery report because technically it’s not on campus,” New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said.
In order for colleges to offer federal financial aid to students attending their school, they have to file a Clery report.
“Certain major felonies involving whether it’s a robbery, burglary, or assault will be reported,” said Richard Bachoo, CCSU’s chief administrative officer. “A student who may be intoxicated walking down the street with the open container is probably not be including the Clery report.”
If a parent wants to find out about crimes off campus involving students, it doesn’t appear on the school’s report, and it is perfectly legal, according to Eastern Connecticut State University’s Police Chief Jeffrey Garewski.
“The jurisdiction outside of the campus for all clery reportable crime, whether it’s a violent crime or any of the reportable statistics, includes the sidewalk adjacent to the university, the public street and if there’s a sidewalk on the other side it includes that sidewalk,” Garewski said.
The chief said there’s no place on the report to document nuisance issues off campus.
“If we’re going to go outside and consider other crimes, there has to be a process to gather that information otherwise we’ll be spinning our wheels,” Garewski said.
However, students said colleges should be required to publish all crimes that happen on and off campus.
“I get that the school wants a good reputation but it’s also not being honest to the public for future students who want to come here,” said ECSU student Amy Calci.
“They should definitely include off campus events for sure because that’s where everyone gets in trouble,” said ECSU student Ryan Vaillancourt.
Willimantic police said the report needs to be reformed.
“I don’t think the parents know to the extent of what is going on here,” said Willimantic Police Cpl. Stanley Parizo Jr.
The problem has now caught the attention of federal lawmakers, like U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.
“There is a clear need for better communication to parents who have a right to know whether their children are at all in any danger,” Blumenthal said.
He said the proposed changes would improve the reporting of sexual assaults, and take in consideration where a school is located.
“I have proposed a reporting system that goes directly to students and asks them whether they have seen or been victims of any kind of crime,” he said.
While lawmakers try to figure out how to make the Clery report more transparent for students and parents, the solution to making campus safer may be with the students and administrators themselves.
“I’ve heard it. Kids will be kids. But we want them to grow up and be adults and some of the behaviors they’re engaging in might interfere with that. We don’t want that to happen. We want to keep everyone safe,” Wardwell said.
Both ECSU and CCSU are working with neighbors to solve the nuisance complaints through social media and meeting with problematic students.
For the Clery report for CCSU, click here.
For the Clery report for ECSU, click here.
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