This week Public Safety made the Crime and Fire Safety Logs available online—a move we commend as a step in the right direction toward making the University more aware of incidents on campus. Though the online publication of the logs makes the information more accessible and transparent, we believe omissions render the logs useless and unless students actually make an effort to view the logs, their online availability is worthless.
Having a database of incidents available online is especially useful for community members seeking timely and accurate information. Instead of waiting until the weekly publication of the log in The Bucknellian, students, faculty and staff can view the information as soon as it is updated.
The log currently contains 60 days worth of logs, in accordance with the Clery Act. Downloadable PDF files containing a list of incidents report the nature, case number, dates of report and occurrence, location and disposition. The availability of information will provide concrete facts for the generalizations and rumors that currently float around campus. It will also allow students to take preventative measures.
Still, the individual reports in links make the data unwieldy. To make true progress, Public Safety should consider making a searchable and compiled database available. This will provide the campus with a more holistic view of crime trends as they occur.
Omitting data from the log page, however, will skew the conclusions its readers will reach. The logs should be full accounts of the reported crimes. Moreover, even if students are concerned about privacy or believe that reporting a crime will emotionally compromise them, we urge students to report all crimes, especially sexual assault. Omissions, whether edited or unreported, create an inaccurate portrayal of actual crime on campus.
Public Safety will also begin posting a link to the log page through the Message Center Digest. While we applaud Public Safety’s efforts to inform the campus community about the page in this manner, few students thoroughly read the digest and even fewer will read and click on the link.
The Bucknellian will continue to publish a compilation of the Public Safety Crime and Fire Safety Logs weekly. But for those who require timelier reports, the online publication of the logs represents a worthwhile endeavor that should be expanded in the future.