It almost goes without saying that vigilance is the key to crime prevention, but vigilance requires knowledge of your environment.This is the purpose of the Clery Act – a law requiring university police to keep a log of crime statistics available to the public and issue crime warnings.
The more students know about the crimes that go on around them, the easier it is to protect themselves from attack.
Although the act is an incredibly useful tool and a great benefit to campuses around the country, it doesn’t go far enough.
Statistics are not kept about crimes occurring off-campus, even if a student is involved. Just because someone is assaulted off university property, doesn’t mean a predator isn’t targeting people at the university.
At the very least, the Clery Act should be expanded to include all crimes reported by students of the university.
Lawmakers could go even further to ensure better crime preparedness.
With the popularity of e-mail and other electronic tools, police departments should utilize this technology by allowing residents in neighborhoods to sign up for crime alerts.
If an assault were to happen at TCU, the police could send out a blanket alert to students and residents in the general area, and everyone would be safer.
Unlike a campuswide alert, this would have to be voluntary. Many people may not sign up for alerts, but those who do could keep those around them informed about crimes in the area.
Neighborhood watch organizations would benefit greatly from added crime awareness of residents.
Areawide text messages and e-mails could keep everyone living in an area on his or her toes.
The Clery Act should be a model for future precautions, not a stagnant solution to an ever-evolving problem.
Opinion Editor Brian Chatman for the Editorial Board.