ASU misrepresents its crime statistics, violates Clery Act (Part Two)

In our last Clery post, entitled “ASUPD misrepresents its crime statistics, violates Clery Act (Part One)” , we looked at what the Clery Act is, what reporting is required  of universities who are obligated to adhere to Clery, and why the Clery Act is so important. In this second installment, we are going to discuss how exactly ASUPD is misrepresenting its crime statistics (and how that violates the requirements of the Clery Act).

1. ASUPD omits crime stats from specific reporting areas required under the Clery Act

In our previous post about the Clery act, we discussed different areas other than campus ASU is required to provide crime statistics for, namely:

Public Property

  • Public property (All public property, including thoroughfares, streets, sidewalks, and parking facilities, that is within the campus, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus, as well as any public transit stops adjacent to campus).

However, according to page 33 of ASU’s 2013 Annual Security and Crime Safety report, we found this small disclaimer:

Clery public prob

Similarly, on page 34 of the Crime Safety report, we found this disclaimer for West, Poly, Downtown and Lake Havasu campus’ public property reporting:

West poly public

Down Lake Havasu

So essentially, what ASUPD is telling the public via the Crime safety report is that the crime stats on the report do NOT include areas adjacent to ANY campus, nor do they include the crime stats for the EIGHTEEN areas considered “non campus properties”.

ASUPD’s excuse for not including public property crimes is that ASU “is unable to provide a statistical breakdown appropriate for Clery Act reporting” is a weak excuse. The “Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting” requires a university  to show a “good faith” effort to collect crime data from another non-university police agency.

This “disclaimer” about not having statistical data appropriate for Clery reporting is to be utilized when other agencies refuse to release their crime statistics, or  the information provided to the university is unable to be attributed to ANY of the university’s Clery geography (page 103).  ASU IS provided crime stats/information (by Tempe PD) that are able to be broken down to the “public property” level simply by looking at the physical location of the offense; this is the type of work that crime analysts routinely engage in.

ASU is also able to request the crime stats for their non-campus properities by merely providing the address of the property to the appropriate jurisdiction. We reached out to Scottsdale PD, home of Skysong (one of the non-campus property locations) and we were told that ASU contacted them approximately one time to request crime information.

We accessed the database referenced in page 33 of the Crime Safety report to see what crimes ASU may have missed because of its exclusion of public property statistics, and this is what we found for ASU’s Tempe Campus:

Tempe 1

Tempe 2

ASU excluded a significant amount of crimes occurring adjacent to campus (and several that occurred ON campus but were handled by other police agencies) from its Crime Safety Report (go to raidsonline.com and use the date range of August 2012-August 2013 to view the above posted data in a clickable format)

 Non-campus property

These are the non-campus statistics from ASU’s Skysong Campus which are not included on the Tempe non-campus property in the Crime Safety report (cited from raidsonline.com, using the date range of August 2012-August 2013): Note that the campus boundary is marked with a solid blue line, and each of the crimes are circled in red.

Skysong crimes

Note there are five motor vehicle thefts, one sexual assault, and one commercial burglary NOT included in ASU’s Crime Safety Report.

 

2. ASUPD improperly classifies crimes so they don’t meet the criteria for Clery reporting

Sex offenses

Perhaps the most misclassified/reclassified type of crime are those linked to sex offenses. Clery Act has a much more broad definition of what a sex offense is compared to definition used by the UCR (which excludes forcible fondling). Under the Clery Act, there are two types of sex offenses: forcible and non-forcible.

  • Forcible sex offense: Forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling.
  • Non-forcible sex offense: Incest, statutory rape.

“Schools can wrongly categorize reports of acquaintance rape or fondling as “non-forcible” sexual offenses — a definition that should only apply to incest and statutory rape”, according to an article by publicintegrity.org.

In August 2007, an ASU student reported being sexually assaulted at the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Subsequent follow-up emails to then Assistant Chief Jay Spradling went unanswered, and the sexual assault was later reclassified. The student alleged that her sexual assault was not investigated by Officer Janda (who documented the assault on a field investigation card) because she was intoxicated. Clery specifically states that a sex offense is presumed to be forcible if the person is incapable of giving consent “due to his or temporary/permanent physical or mental incapacity”.

The woman, who later sued the Arizona Board of Regents for violating Title IX, stated ASU has in recent years systematically and severely underreported sexual assault reports. Her complaint states that in 2008, ASU reported and posted only four forcible sexual assault reports in its 2009 Annual Security Reports, despite, on information and belief, having received at least several dozen reports.

A 2010 State Press article interviewed a counselor who works with sexual assault victims and is closely affiliated with the university and stated, “ASU does not take sexual assault reports seriously enough, creating a climate that keeps victims quiet and crime stats low”.

In 2011, ASUPD arrested a man accused of fondling at least 14 victims on ASU’s campus the previous year. Under the Clery reporting guidelines, forcible fondling is required to be reported as a forcible sex offense. For the year the incidents occurred (2010), ASU reported a mere 6 forcible sex offenses that occurred on campus (see Campus_Security_Policy )

Prevalence of under reporting sexual assaults

USC, UC Berkley, and Occidental College are all major universities currently facing the possibility of sanctions from the Department of Education for failing to properly report the number of sexual assaults on campus.

Robbery

ASU has also reclassified several robberies into felony thefts, which would prevent their inclusion into ASU’s Crime Safety Report. Under the Clery Act, robbery is defined as:

    • Robbery: is the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person
      or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

ASU has had several strong arm robbery series which occurred on ASU’s campus where the victim was robbed of an IPhone and then dragged by a vehicle; under the Clery Act, these crimes should have been listed as a “robbery”, but they were later reclassified to a “felony theft” or merely “theft”.

3. ASU doesn’t utilize its resources properly

While formal training in the field of statistics and crime analysis is not required for persons preparing the Crime Safety Report under the guidelines specified by the Clery Act, that type of knowledge is useful when tasked with processing a large amount of data in a relatively short period of time. ASUPD has been fortunate to have a crime analyst on board for the past few years, but unfortunately, the analysts’ job has been reduced to producing crime maps for bike thefts on campus.

ASU’s former analyst (who has subsequently left the department for greener pastures) was much more qualified to process and analyze crime data compared to the Commander in charge of Clery reporting (Michele Rourke), who merely possesses a bachelor’s degree in English and has no formal training in statistics

Additionally, with such a large criminal justice undergraduate/graduate program, ASUPD could utilize several unpaid student volunteers or interns to process and catalog crime reports; this is a relatively common practice in larger departments such as Tempe PD.

4. ASU needs stronger partnerships with other agencies

After looking at the various locations where ASU has property/research labs, it is obvious that the university’s footprint is pretty significant. ASU has demonstrated that it does not have the resources, training, or personnel to effectively fulfill its obligations under the Clery Act; ASU needs to form stronger partnerships and more effective ways to communicate with other police departments. Building a rapport with another agency would assist ASU in obtaining the proper crime information necessary for a thorough Crime Safety report, and perhaps allowing ASU to assist that agency in some other area in the future.

 All of this information, especially when coupled with the storm of negative media coverage over ASU’s crime situation, are evidence that ASU’s students/faculty/staff are NOT as safe as the university would lead them to believe. ASUPD knows the magnitude of the crime problems on and around all campuses, but refuses to do anything about it. 

There is no more hiding behind Tempe PD or any other police agencies; the other agencies did not create the staffing shortages, the lack of training, or incentives to stay in the department—you did, Command staff!  ASUPD is unable to fulfill its basic obligation to serve and protect its community. It is now a matter of time before ASU starts losing students (and $$) because of these shocking safety issues.

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26 thoughts on “ASU misrepresents its crime statistics, violates Clery Act (Part Two)

  1. ThySummons says:

    Outstanding! Kudos for the work and effort put forth in providing this fact-based information.

    I suspect that Chief John Pickens, Assistant Chief James Hardina, Assistant Chief Michael Thompson, and Commander Michele Rourke have some explaining to do.

    Michael Crow and Morgan Olsen, you, too, might have some explaining to do when BIG BROTHER comes knocking on your door.

    Kevin Salcido, I look forward to the next email you put out, on behalf of Chief Pickens, regarding this–right!

    For our readers that are not familiar with Arizona State University (ASU), Dr. Michael M. Crow is the president at ASU; Dr. Morgan R. Olsen is Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at ASU; and Kevin Salcido is Associate Vice President and Chief HR Officer in the Office of Human Resources at ASU.

  2. getitright says:

    This just gets better and better. ASU administration is aware of the issues within ASUPD. How long before ASU has a full blown scandal that can’t be contained? I have been following the blog, you are on the right track.

  3. Justanotherdispensible50 says:

    This is nice! More documentation and more proof of the lying, deception, malfeasance, and overall lack of integrity that brought this mop up operation into being. Crow, how is that vote of confidence in ASUPD command going?

  4. DL500unit says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant, immoral, and incompetent some of these administrators can be. There is a culture in charge at ASU that looks the other way, that does what it wants instead of what is right, fair, ethical.

    The rest of the nation’s universities have police departments that comply with Clery because it is law. ASUPD under John Pickens and his command have their own interpretation of law, policy, and ethics the way our criminal clientele do. The difference? ASUPD command has people covering for them, the common criminal does not.

  5. 311 says:

    I would love to sit in on a few command meetings after this post. Between this and trying to figure out where to shuffle people they don’t have it would be entertaining to watch. Now they can try and solve the problems they had such a hand in creating. I look forward to the next chapter.

    • yurhuckleberry says:

      I would rather see them get thrown out on their ears for not doing their jobs and abusing their positions of power and public trust.

  6. smokey261 says:

    ASUPD command has been doing whatever it wants for years with no oversight, no consequences. If someone happens to legal up and sue the checks get written and they go back to business as usual. This routine has played itself out over and over leading to increased abuse and a belief that they are untouchable, just like the old crime bosses. It’s disgusting these people are in law enforcement.

  7. indeedYOUsay says:

    The command of ASUPD is responsible for lying to the public, reclassifying how they were victimized to satisfy their own self interests, and keeping the public in the dark for years despite federal mandates every other university seems to understand just fine.

    It looks as if winging it, making it up as you go along, fudging the facts, bullshit excuses, and something silly like breaking the law doesn’t cut it this time.

  8. Embudo says:

    Top-level ASU administrators are just as culpable as ASU PD management for the dire straits we are in: not having the number of sworn officers needed to properly staff all four campuses, low morale, and misrepresenting its crime statistics in violation of the Clery Act. Do you really think the ASU PD leadership would do this without the university’s tacit approval?

    In addition, word is that some employees in the department that have met with Kevin Salcido have not been impressed with him. Salcido appears to be more focused on discrediting the employees’ concerns and minimizing the problems in the department.

    What’s Salcido’s suggestion for some employees bringing concerns about the department? If you’re not happy, maybe it’s time to move on. Where have we heard that stock phrase?

    Really, this is ASU’s top HR person, and this is one of his solutions for fixing the problems in the department?

    Folks, we have a systemic problem, and the ASU PD leadership is merely a reflection of the university’s leadership.

    Thanks to all who continue to cull the documentation that will, hopefully, hold some individuals in leadership positions at ASU accountable.

    • yurhuckleberry says:

      You are exactly right. Anyone who thinks ASUPD command, Salcido, or any of these cardboard representations of hope really care needs to think again and look at the facts. You have complicity all the way up and corruption is king, not the degenerate exception it needs to be. All of us who are sworn took an oath before god and the value placed on that oath is somewhat questionable in this department.

    • TalkingHead says:

      All these comments just give further credibility to the notion that Kevin Salcido is merely a talking head. The head of HR at the nation’s largest university doesn’t think any of this shit is worthy of a formal investigation? ASUPD has investigated it’s own officers for submitting their time sheets late, for fucks sake! But that circumstance was obviously more pressing than say, investigating a police department after 10 or more employees tell you things are screwed up.

      Congratulations in officially shooting yourself in the foot, Kevin Salcido. You’re setting the stage quite nicely for a lawsuit involving negligence.

  9. yurhuckleberry says:

    You are correct, having a crime analyst is a good thing but you have to know what to use them for and these people don’t have a clue. They would rather pay for an analyst to sit and play dumb only figuring out where bikes are being stolen from. The intended purpose of a crime analyst is to document all crime, especially real crime.

    Rapes, assaults, burglaries, strong arm robberies, homicide, and other eyebrow raising crimes don’t get analyzed and put into crime reports any more than they get their attention in ASUPD Clery reports.

    If an area adjacent to campus is a crime happy area, the leadership of ASU and command at ASUPD doesn’t think you need to know about it and they are lying to you about crime directly and by omission in violation of federal law.

    This endangers 10’s of 1000’s of people who could benefit from knowing what areas to avoid. People could have avoided being a victim, but information available millions of college campus students throughout the nation isn’t available to our public.

    When the truth comes out I would suggest any victim in areas of repeat crime that wasn’t in a proper Clery report file legal action against the University, especially against the leadership of ASUPD who were there at the time. Sue them civilly. This process will become easier once they are found breaking the law on a federal level.

    For non-victims who are concerned file formal complaints with the ASUPD, with ABOR, the governor, local and state representatives, with the Department of Justice. Anyone can call the Clery Center at 484-580-8754. Check it all out here: http://clerycenter.org/clery-act-compliance

    With few exceptions ASUPD command staff holds police leadership positions without genuine police experience that extends beyond dealing with bratty middle-class kids who occasionally commit a crime, a homeless person, nothing your average security guard hasn’t dealt with. When it comes to police work patrol doesn’t expect them to know what they’re doing, but there is a reasonable expectation for them to know how to properly report what universities all over the nation seem competent enough to complying with.

    I would like to notify Dr. Crow of a few details that may have escaped his attention when dealing with the liars in charge of ASUPD. Each Clery Act violation currently runs $35,000 and 100’s, 1000’s, of these fines for years may be on the table. How will this affect the over 1 billion dollars in financial aid for the state’s, the nation’s largest university? With the financial loss in the millions how expensive would it be keep the ASUPD command and not fix the problems with the department? It looks like we will be finding out, but it will take some time. Maybe it’s time to find out when ASUPD COMMAND contracts of employment are renewed?

  10. Seguridad perdido says:

    This is good solid research done by, “disgruntled employees”. I will have some further ideas of issues you may want to look into. The department is full of problems long ignored by supervisors within the department.

    The dishonor guard holds firm because they know each other’s dirty secrets. Nothing will change for the better in the ASUPD unless you break up the dishonorable group that makes employees on the bottom leave so frequently. It’s not a complicated issue,

  11. FlamingPileMallcoppery says:

    It’s all true, these lying sacks of shit can’t be entrusted with the sacred duty of public safety. If an agency can’t treat it’s own people in a just and fair manner then how else would you expect them to treat the public? Isn’t it fantastic how the cluck cluck chicken command staff doesn’t say a fucking word to defend itself, how can it? What are they going to say to the victims that find out their crimes were reclassified?

    Sorry you were a victim of this felony, but to avoid reporting it to Clery, to avoid a statistic, we changed the crime charge to a misdemeanor crime. They are all wrapped up in this together, thick as thieves, and looking for a way out. When they get popped very public complaints need to be made to AZPOST about the no standard of ethics they live by.

  12. FlamingPileMallcoppery says:

    It goes higher than asupd command when their bosses are tollerating or promoting this behavior.

  13. Thinblueline1 says:

    It’s black and white. We have police supervisors, records, asking officers to reclassify crimes to lesser offences. Unless the change is due to a mistake in citing the wrong ARS for the offense, then it is a intentional attempt to illegally minimize crime stats. Misreporting the crime total in Clery to the public needs to be addressed.

  14. jpcode11 says:

    Getting away with doing what they want for years has emboldened them. We have so called leadership who are so used to lying they can’t help themselves. I don’t understand why anyone is surprised by them manipulating statistics, look at everything that’s been done.

    These assholes hold expensive award banquets to give the same old people awards year after year, awards they voted for each other. This last go around even the chief got sick of the game and canceled the banquet. Fat chance of keeping people on the ground floor when all the same parasites remain.

  15. Quick call Tempe! says:

    The silence is deafening. They don’t have shit to say. The truth stands strong and not a single one of those idiots can deny it or defend what they have done.

    With a house full of supervisors and no officers they have no opposition voice to what’s being said about how they are running a police department into ruin, this silence says volumes. I have seen plenty of our people read what’s here and say it’s true and that’s also telling.

    From rookies with no time on to veteran officers with years with ASUPD, there’s no shortage of people saying, “Fuck this place, I’m done.” The strategy to just get more and more warm bodies under an incompetent demoralizing leadership will help other police departments fill their recruitment goals.

    Good job on revictimizing the victims of crimes by changing what crimes are charged from greater to lesser offenses or by not reporting the crimes at all in areas other than bike thefts. Lying to the public, trying to make people believe they are safer than they are, what a wonderful standard to set.

    The years of having ethical doublestandards within the pd are really paying off, they can do anything to anyone and sleep on it pretending everything is just fine.

    • ScumDevilPO says:

      Of course these guys have nothing to say other than their canned line of “we’re working on recruitment and morale”.

      Chief, Command staff, and ASU HR: Do you really believe this is still “disgruntled employees”? You might have been able to pull that line off if one or two people came to you with complaints…but when 7-8 employees repeatedly tell you about the same issues going on within the department, how can you deny there is a problem?

      You all don’t have shit to say because someone finally called your bluff. You can’t keep up with your game of blaming your employees anymore, because the cracks in your facade are showing…you’re all a bunch of scared little kids afraid of losing their jobs.

  16. WheresMy907 says:

    There was the belief that corruption within the university was the private preserve of command at ASUPD. This belief has changed. Now that the top leadership of ASU have long been aware of the incompetence of ASUPD leadership it is clearly a institutional problem.

    What these guys are doing and not doing with crime stats, illegally showing ASU in the most positive light regardless of the truth, goes far beyond the meddling fat fingers of ASUPD command. Crow knows.

    It’s a blatent attempt to get ahead, damn ethical measures, and if you get caught just flash cash and pay off some fines. The same attitude when people sue over the PD not doing it’s job. It’s cheaper to have a broken PD than one that might raise crime stats and scare some revenue away. Just because you have the devil as a mascot it doesn’t mean you should act like one.

  17. Supervisor Facepalm says:

    FYI, they are aware they have been keeping highly innacurate crime stats for Clery for years. They were just hoping nobody would notice. Too late.

  18. […] complaints lodged against UM/MSU are very similiar to issues we raised in our recent article, ASU misrepresents its crime statistics, violates Clery Act (Part two).  Like UM/MSU, ASU failed appropriately handle several forcible sexual offenses.  ASU failed to […]

  19. […] posted on the safety of students on campus under Title IX, as well as an article about how ASUPD omitted or incorrectly reported the number of sex offenses reported under the Clery Act. Let’s also not forget the rash of […]

  20. […] posted on the safety of students on campus under Title IX, as well as an article about how ASUPD omitted or incorrectly reported the number of sex offenses reported under the Clery […]

  21. […] a sexual assault case, and who was later allowed to train several NEW employees? Or the chronic underreporting and reclassifying of sexual abuse cases under the Clery Act? These situations represent only a few of MANY situations where university […]

  22. […] • Expansion of the community-based policing program by establishing internal and external partnerships and a team-building philosophy to promote higher levels of service to the university community. ASUPD’s Command Staff has VERY strained relationships with the surrounding police agencies, namely Tempe PD. TPD is forced to deal with problems that ASUPD won’t because of poor staffing. Internally, ASUPD has very few positive partnerships with members of the student population; after all, why would students be willing to trust the PD when the Command Staff has turned a blind eye to properly investigating and reporting sexual assaults? […]

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