The crime statistics being released by colleges nationwide tomorrow are so misleading that they give students and parents a false sense of security, says the Columbus Dispatch. Even the U.S. Department of Education official who oversees compliance with a federal law requiring that the statistics be posted on Oct. 1 each year admits they are inaccurate. Jim Moore said most schools comply with the law but some purposely underreport crimes to protect their images; others have made honest mistakes in attempting to comply.
Weaknesses in the law allow for thousands of off-campus crimes involving students to go unreported, and the Education Department does little to monitor or enforce compliance with the law even when colleges report numbers that seem questionable. The White House and some in Congress have noticed and are pushing for changes, including increased sanctions. The law, known as the Clery Act, was enacted in 1991 to alert students to dangers on campus, but it often fails at its core mission, a joint investigation by the Dispatch and the Student Press Law Center found.