In commemoration of the Clery Act and Sunshine Week, The Daily Reveille sent a reporter and a non-media-affiliated University student to test the availability of public information in the LSU Police Department.
Last week was Sunshine Week, a week created by the American Society of News Editors to promote access to public information for private citizens, according to the Sunshine Week website.
One initiative of the week is to make sure campus police publish an annual security report, have a public crime log and issue timely warnings in instances of emergency, according to the Clery Act.
The Clery Act is a federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, which requires colleges and universities across the country to provide information about crime on campus, according to SecurityOnCampus.org.
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Virginia, said a mishap in a school in Pennsylvania was the inspiration behind the Clery Act.
“A college in Pennsylvania did not give warning of a dangerous predator on campus and a woman was murdered,” LoMonte said. “This act lets people protect themselves, and if not, they can advocate for a response.”
LoMonte said this act helps students have a safer college experience.
“Crime logs can reveal property crimes like burglary and theft around campus,” LoMonte said. “This act can minimize the risk of being a victim. If you notice iPads have been stolen in the library, you know not to bring yours to the library. It can put people in the spot not to be victimized.”
LoMonte said if students have a problem with getting the information, it should be brought to the attention of authorities.
One of the efforts of the Student Press Law Center is to encourage students to go to their campus police stations to see if information is available, and LoMonte said smaller schools tend to have more of a problem having the information available because they are not used to dealing with the media.
The availability of the LSUPD’s Clery log was tested Saturday and Sunday.
In the first visit, the police officer gave the yearly report to the reporter, and said it is required by the FBI to have a yearly safety report. He said students can see the daily crime log online at the LSUPD’s website sites01.lsu.edu under “Jeanne Clery Act/Crime Information.”
The log, as of Sunday evening, has updated every crime reported through March 14, which LoMonte said meets his expectations.
The second visit yielded similar results.
The officer gave the yearly report for the student, explained its contents and gave further information about the online crime log.
LoMonte said he was not surprised LSUPD was in full compliance with its public information and said most big universities are comparable to LSU’s preparedness.