Staff Editorial — Truth in statistics

As a result of a provision of the Campus Security Act, campus crime statistics are now tabulated more accurately, and the winners are students who want to know the truth about campus crime.

In the past, infractions such as large parties at which underage individuals are caught drinking would be counted in the University Police crime log as one incident. So whether five individuals were present or 50, each incident would have been reported as one incident in UPD’s daily crime log and yearly report.

Under the new federal rule, each individual case referred to Student Judicial Services must be accounted for by UPD. Thus crime statistics will more accurately reflect the amount of crime on campus.

The new system will likely present a public relations problem for some universities, including GW. Because of the new system, crime statistics in the next annual crime report, scheduled to be released in October, will be significantly higher. UPD Director Dolores Stafford has already warned that crime statistics will skyrocket with implementation of the new procedure.

Presumably, all universities subject to the Campus Security Act will face marked increases in crime statistics. GW will likely fare better than other universities with larger undergraduate populations. And GW will have extra incentive to discourage students from allowing underage drinking at large parties.

Ultimately, universities are supposed to provide accurate crime statistics. So what good is a system that doesn’t achieve its supposed goal?

The new system of reporting crime statistics, unlike the old system, will portray an accurate picture of campus crime. The real winners are those in the GW community who want to know the truth about campus crime.

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