March 29, 2020

Understanding your safety: How to navigate Safety Bulletins

CapAlerts and Safety Bulletins can be very confusing to navigate, especially for first-year students. 

CapAlerts and Safety Bulletins are required to be given to students due to the Clery Act of 1990.

The Clery Act requires that universities inform their students and the surrounding community of crime on campus in a timely manner. The United States Department of Education can fine universities for violations under the Clery Act. 

“A CapAlert is something that people need to know about immediately because they need to take action … there is some type of on-going, life-threatening event taking place,” Nichole Johnson, Assistant Vice President of Marketing Communication and Media Relations, said. 

“The Safety Bulletin is an important complement to that [CapAlert] it is a place for us to report crime and trends of crime that may not be an immediate threat to the university.”

An example of this, according to Johnson, would be car break-ins on campus with the holidays coming up. Public Safety will try to release how the culprit tried to break into the car, if there was an arrest, how many cars have been broken into, and where the cars were located as soon as possible.

Although for certain CapAlerts and Safety Bulletins they will release the name of the suspect of the crime committed, certain alerts have to remain vague for the safety and respect of the victims. 

“If there is a sexual assault and if the suspect has been identified or if an arrest has been made, we would report that in the Safety Bulletin,” Johnson said. “If a suspect had not been named and was believed to be at large, that would go into a CapAlert because there is an ongoing threat to the community and university.”

If the suspect had been arrested, then the name and information regarding that assault would all be in a police report, which is public record.

If the assault was reported through Public Safety, then it becomes a Title IX investigation, which is not public record. This would cause the Safety Bulletin to not identify the name of the suspect and victim, and the location of where the assault took place.

According to Johnson, the Rave Guardian App can be a very useful tool for students, especially those with night classes. The app includes many different features, one of which being a safety timer. 

If a student has a night class or is around campus late at night, they are able to set a timer that will alert Public Safety if the timer is not disabled before it hits zero. 

The app also allows you to post anonymous tips and call campus police at the click of a button. 

To download the app, search “Rave Guardian” in your app store. To make a report to Public Safety, dial 6666 to be connected with an around the clock dispatcher. Students are also able to go to the Public Safety Office to make reports.

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