Technology offers a valuable ally in Clery Act compliance
The Clery Act has very specific requirements about what reporting is required and how crimes are categorized. In April of this year, the US Department of Education adjusted their civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for any penalties that were assessed after April 20, 2017 and whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. The changes are meant to “provide the 2017 annual inflation adjustments to the initial “catch-up” adjustments” made in August of 2016. Fines are now set at $54,789.
The Clery Act is not all about reporting incidents or statistics. There is much more to it including timely warnings and emergency notifications, and victims rights, opinions, and resources.
However, reporting requirements are an every-day reality for campus security departments. The Clery Act has very specific requirements about what reporting is required and how crimes are categorized. A good resource is the Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting on the Clery Center website which outlines requirements. Consider for example that every institution must:
- Collect, classify and count crime reports and crime statistics.
- Publish an annual security report containing safety- and security-related policy statements and crime statistics and distribute it to all current students and employees. Schools also must inform prospective students and employees about the availability of the report.
- Submit crime statistics to the Department. Each year in the fall you must participate in a Web-based data collection to disclose crime statistics by type, location and year.
- If your institution maintains a campus police or security department, you must keep a daily crime log of alleged criminal incidents that is open to public inspection.
Data Collection Struggles
Each campus has its own standard operating procedure and process around how safety incidents are reported, recorded, and their information stored. The amount of data however can be immense, especially given the need to incorporate data from other parties in your reporting requirements. A streamlined and simplified process is preferred as it requires fewer manual resources, possibly leads to fewer data errors, and can be customized to meet the needs of your day-to-day operations to cover Clery Act reporting. For many organizations, this means moving from dated technology to a more comprehensive system. However, that move doesn’t have to be daunting or overwhelming.
Using Technology to Do Double Duty
Incident tracking and reporting for your operations can and should be part of your technology reporting to manage your security team. The process of documenting and dispatching as one continuous work flow makes for more efficient operations and Clery Act reporting.
For example: every incident that is reported is logged into your incident management software with the required geographic information, time, and details for daily log reporting. The log entry triggers a series of automated events that allows your administrative team to initiate appropriate action, including dispatching security. A single system helps you manage your security team as well as collect and report data as needed.
What to Look for in Incident Management Software
Not all incident management software options are the same. And not all of them are suited to every campus or every type of operation. However, you should look for these functionalities to not only help make reporting easier, but also to create efficiency in your operations, and see easily pulled statistics when needed.
Comprehensive Database Features
This goes beyond logging and tracking incidents. You’ll also want a comprehensive database of vehicles and people of interest to support your team and campus security.
Flexible Custom Reporting
You will want the ability to create custom reporting from your incident management software. Creating custom reports based on criteria you specifically define will be important.
Being able to quickly prioritize incidents, create notes for dispatch, and track officer activities will be essential. This includes the need to dispatch a team when a vehicle or person of interest is identified.
Visible Incident Tracking and Flagging
An easy to see history of a specific incident for team members who require it or for reporting. Flagging lets you create flags for certain categories relevant to your individual needs.
Case Load Management
Part of moving to a more comprehensive system includes giving your team a simplified way to manage their case work. Efficiency should be a priority.
Data and System Security
To maintain data integrity, look to a system that offers features that prevent any tampering or alteration of information once its been logged. You’ll also want permission levels that provides access information to only the appropriate people.
Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment
While campus safety is the priority, you don’t need to secure a huge budget to implement a highly effective incident management solution. You can get yourself up and running for under most RFP thresholds depending on your specific needs.