Clery crime statistics not as reliable

More dependable statistics show little difference between the U and UW.

by Greg Hestness

In speaking to a Minnesota Daily columnist to help her prepare for the April 8 column âÄúDo crime statistics accurately portray U?âÄù I explained the difference between the statistics we report to the Department of Education under the Jeanne Clery Act and the statistics we report to the Department of Justice under Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) requirements. I cautioned the columnist that Clery data was far more subjective and less accurate. Nevertheless, the Daily chose to use Clery data. Candidly, Clery data compares the University of Minnesota unfavorably with the University of Wisconsin. There are two reasons Clery data is less reliable. First, there is the Department of Education disclaimer on the site that says, âÄúThe crime data reported by the institutions have not been subjected to independent verification by the Department of Education. Therefore, the Department cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data reported.âÄù Second, the purpose of Clery data is to reduce the inaccuracies that the underreporting of crime perpetuates. The accuracy of the data is tied to the effort campus police departments make to collect the data. UMPD follows the letter and spirit of the Clery Act and seeks out unreported crime from a variety of sources. Therefore, striving to fully comply with the intent of the law may reflect negatively on the safety environment of campus. Weak effort equals less information. Conversely, UCR data has been reported and investigated by police. For this reason it is far more reliable across campuses. When you compare UCR data for the Twin Cities and Madison campuses, the disparity mostly evaporates. Greg Hestness, University police chief