Students can’t rely solely on crime alerts

While the University does its best to keep students informed, it can’t tell students about every crime.

Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock sent an email to students in response to a Feb. 10 Minnesota Daily editorial calling for more clarity on crime alerts. The response is encouraging. ItâÄôs a step in the right direction because students need to know what kind of information the University of Minnesota will provide, and what information they will have to seek elsewhere. Wheelock provided useful information about what the University considers when sending a crime alert, such as Clery Act phrases âÄúTimely WarningâÄù and âÄúserious and ongoing threat.âÄù She also explained why the University sent out a crime alert about a recent off-campus robbery far outside of University police jurisdiction. These specific examples were exactly what we were looking for, and they help shed light on the generalities of the Clery Act. The reality is that students shouldnâÄôt rely on the University for hearing about most local crimes, or even all of the crimes on campus. Common crimes like theft from a motor vehicle and larceny are more likely to affect students than an armed robbery, but crime alerts focus on the most serious threats. The University interprets what is relevant information under the Clery Act, which may not include crimes that some students want to hear about. We agree with Wheelock that âÄú[a] well-informed community is one that is better able to take responsibility for its safety.âÄù If students are to be an informed citizenry, they should look to journalistic sources and law enforcement information in addition to reading crime alerts.