A new state website offering access to campus-crime data is raising questions about how accurately New York colleges and universities report mandatory crime information, and how that data should be presented to the public, the Wall Street Journal reports. Campuscrime.ny.gov, launched late last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, aggregates “Clery” statistics, campus-crime numbers that schools nationwide have been required by law to report to the government since 1990. Some university officials have pushed back against the Cuomo initiative, saying the numbers require more context than the site provides. Students have taken aim at their schools, questioning the accuracy of the self-reported numbers.
“While we fully support New York state's transparency with regard to crime on campus…we question how helpful statistics are without context or detail,” said Thomas Blum, vice president of administration at Sarah Lawrence College. At SUNY Albany, where 41 sex offenses were reported between 2008 and 2012, campus officials said the statistics don't indicate a security failure. “When the numbers go higher it looks worse, but on college campuses it means we're more effective at getting the community to come forward,” said Aaron Mulle, deputy chief for the New York state University Police at Albany-SUNY. “We don't fudge our numbers,” said Michael Bailey, chief of police at Purchase College. “The red flags show when a school reports zero.”