By: Cody Boteler, Editor-in-Chief
From Jan. 1, 2017, until about Feb. 22, the Towson University Police Department crime log was not accessible on the Towson University website.
According to Deputy Chief of Police Joe Herring, the log was unavailable because of a technical problem.
Typically, the Towson University Police Department Crime Log is accessible online. The crime log is legally required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act – usually referred to as the Clery Act.
According to the 2016 edition of a Department of Education handbook about campus safety reporting, campus police departments are required to enter information about a crime into the log within two business days of the crime being reported.
When the records officer took crime information and tried to upload it to the website, he received confirmation that it had been published, Herring said. But it was published to a blank website, not the page where the records are now accessible.
“Nobody was seeing that it wasn’t being properly uploaded to the crime log web page,” Herring said. “I’ve added a step that he’s the clear his browser and manually inspect [the crime log] to see that it’s been uploaded correctly.”
The Department of Education handbook also stipulates that institutions should train more than one individual on maintaining the crime log, in case the trained individual changes jobs, is sick or otherwise unable to update the records.
Herring told The Towerlight in an interview that there are others who are trained on the system, but that TUPD relies on their records clerk.
Typically, TUPD updates the crime log on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
TUPD maintains records on its website for other incidents, like a yearly crime comparison between Towson University and other University System of Maryland schools.
Per capita, TU had the lowest rate of violent crimes in 2014 of any USM school. Towson also had the lowest per capita rate of property crimes in 2014.
The Clery Act is also what requires campus police to send out emergency notifications in cases of “immediate threats,” like a gas leak or armed intruder.
The Act was passed in 1990 after Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old woman and student at Lehigh University was raped and murdered by Josoph Henry. Clery’s family argued that Jeanne wouldn’t have attended Lehigh if they knew about the school’s crime record.