The 2023 Clery Report crime statistics are in.
Article By Janelle Willis
College campus safety is paramount to the growth and education of a community. It is crucial students and parents are informed. The Clery Act arises from legislation designed to meet this goal. The legislation was the result of the brutal rape and murder of college student Jeanne Clery at the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. She was assaulted and died tragically in her dorm room on the campus.
Enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, the report is a comprehensive document outlining campus security data of all educational institutions nationally participating in FAFSA. This tool is critical for administrators, parents, and students alike because it highlights important crime trends and statistics related to the safety of college campuses. In 1990, Congress enacted the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) to make sure anyone deciding to attend a university could make an informed decision not just based on the degree choices or athletic prowess of the college, but also based on the overall safety and culture.
At Louisiana State University, Shreveport, our culture is unique. Our campus serves over nine thousand students annually, according to Chief Allen Johnson, of the LSUS campus police department. But, of that number, only about two thousand students attend classes on campus, making ours a relatively peaceful sanctuary. So, why should anyone review this extensive report of over 120 pages? Howard and Connie Clery might say, “do it for Jeanne.”
The Clery Report categorizes crimes into classifications to include sexual offenses, robbery, assault, burglary, vehicle theft, arson and hate crimes. It is important to understand these categories to pinpoint where safety must improve. We can all agree reviewing numbers so low brings about peace, but we must stay vigilant. In a recent interview, Sergeant Cole reiterated how important situational awareness is for students, advising everyone to be prepared when leaving their car or classroom, so as not to be distracted digging for your keys or cellphone in route. Trivial things like that can make anyone less of a target.
The chart below compares the 2023 Clery Reports of three local college campuses: Bossier Parish Community College, Centenary College and LSUS. All three campuses have relatively low crime, with LSUS falling in the middle.
Chief Johnson may be new to our college campus, but he is not new to policing, having had a distinguished career with the Shreveport Police Department before his arrival at LSUS. Recently, Chief Johnson and Sergeant Cole sat down with members of the Almagest staff to discuss the Clery Report and some advances the LSUS campus police are making. For instance, Chief Johnson tells us of his commitment to maintain a safe environment for all students and LSUS staff by upgrading equipment and adding new tools to their arsenal. “The primary mission of the LSU Shreveport Police Department (LSUS PD) is to maintain a safe living, learning, and working environment” operating 24 hours and 365 days each year. LSUS PD and the Clery Report seek to inform the public by compiling accurate and timely information. “The LSUS PD will investigate every crime on campus and/or request assistance from other local law enforcement agencies, if needed.”
Chief Allen Johnson & Sergeant Cole
The Clery Report is one of the tools the campus police use to address problem areas and improve by measuring how far we have come. Having a benchmark to compare data is one way to combat crime. The report is extensive with 127 pages filled with resources for students and parents with some important sections including: Basic Personal Safety, Campus Crime Prevention Programs, Reporting Incidents and/or Crimes, Quick and Anonymous Reporting, Reporting Sexual Assault, Filing Complaints for Sexual Misconduct, and Title IX just to name a few. The report offers prospective students' useful information so they may be informed unlike the Clery family who did not know of the 38 violent crimes on their daughter’s campus only three years before her murder.
Some of the lesser-known services LSUS PD Officers provide to those on campus are, assistance with battery issues while on campus, escort to a vehicle after hours, and an ear to listen. On Pages 13 and 14 of the report there is a section on Basic Personal Safety in addition to Campus Crime Prevention Programs and other useful links. There really is such a wealth of information contained in this report; it is truly an invaluable resource to students and faculty. Below are helpful suggestions for bystanders.
If you or someone you know experiences any type of dating violence, domestic violence, or abuse, please use this report as a resource. Counseling services and resources are available on Page 36. If you are interested in learning more about the Clery Act, visit https://www.clerycenter.org/the-clery-act.