Multiple Texas universities share TCU’s interpretation of the Clery Act to determine when students need to be notified about crimes on and around campus.
Police departments at Baylor University, Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas practice TCU’s current policy of only sending out timely warnings and mass crime alerts via email or text message when the threat is “imminent," according to the universities' police chiefs.
In a March 7 story, TCU Police Chief Steve McGee said TCU’s previous practice of sending campus-wide alerts for every reported incident resulted in over-alerting and possible desensitizing.
TCU’s practice of sending out "sometimes-frequent" crime alerts via email was apparently rare, according to Baylor Chief of Police Jim Doak.
Ed Reynolds, deputy chief of the UNT Police Department, said UNT issues timely warnings when the crime represents a serious or continuing threat to the community.
“Sometimes we might send two or three emails in a semester, and sometimes we might go a semester without sending any,” he said. “If the threat has been neutralized, we may not put out a timely warning.”
Postings around university buildings are also utilized to inform the UNT community, Reynolds said.
Doak said Baylor students can check the crime log on the police department’s website if interested in informing themselves about campus crimes.
Sean Cady, a senior health and fitness major at TCU, said crime alerts keep people aware of what is happening on campus.
“No one is really going to go online and check the crime log,” he said.
Robert Meyer, assistant police chief at Texas A&M, said A&M police have never changed their interpretation of the act but have made adaptations to their implementation of the act when they law required them to do so.
Police chiefs from the three universities shared one opinion—they all said the Clery Act is vague, extensive and difficult to interpret.