most recent yearly crime statistics released by the
Police Service of Northern Ireland indicate that South
Belfast has the highest crime rate in the country,
recording 33,656 crimes since April 2002 to 31st March
2004 or about 46 crimes each day over the last 2 years.
Belfast, which is also a home from home for about
12,000 students, is highest on the PSNI drugs seizures,
drug arrests and racial incidents table and in the
last 3 years over 9 murders (not paramilitary related)
have occurred within a 2 square mile popular students'
accommodation zone around Queen's University. Other
crime within South Belfast's "student accommodation
zone" includes assault; racist, homophobic and
sectarian hate attacks, rape, burglaries, car theft
and robberies and many of the victims of these crimes
and Universities across America are required by law
(Clery Act) to "forewarn and forearm" prospective
students, current students and employees about crime
on and around campus. All university applicants, students
or employees can, on request, obtain the university's
current 3 years crime statistics and a location map
of where the crimes on or near campus are occurring.
A University crime log must also be maintained, updated,
and when requested by members of the public, readily
available to them. But, are these measures necessary
in Northern Ireland to protect and inform students
and is a similar law required for local universities
and colleges to enhance a "duty of care"
for its paying customers - the students and their
parents and all other tax payers?
Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy
and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("Clery Act")
is a United States federal law named in memory of
19-year-old Lehigh University Pennsylvania 'fresher'
Jeanne Ann Clery, who was "tortured, raped, sodomized
and murdered"in her dormitory room at the University
on April 5, 1986. The Clery Act requires colleges
and universities across the USA to disclose information
about crime on and around their campus and to further
notify the campus community about obtaining public
"Megan's Law"information concerning registered
sex offenders on campus.
aftermath of a campus related crime for Jeanne's parents
Howard and Connie Clery, demonstrates that an institutional
response to such tragedies could involve "callousness,
cover-ups and stonewalling" and that university
and college campus crime was "one of the best-kept
secrets in the country". The Clerys also quickly
discovered that they were not alone in their grief.
Because, across the United States, violent and non-violent
incidents had been reported by victims and their families
to campus authorities, but administrators failed to
warn students about crime.
Lehigh University's knowledge of more than 38 prior
violent crimes on campus and 181 reports of propped-open
doors at the students' halls of residence in the four
months prior to Jeanne Clery's murder. University
Officials 'publicly passed off Jeanne's torture and
murder' as an "aberration"which was described
by her parents as "an ill-conceived attempt (by
the university) to protect its 'image' and unilaterally
absolve itself", from the death of Jeanne Clery.
Clery family then turned to the courts, suing the
university for "negligent failure of security
and failure to warn of foreseeable dangers on campus".
The Clerys "were relieved, that the law did not
tolerate wilful indifference to the personal safety
of college students". Because, In 1988 Lehigh
University settled with the family and agreed to materially
enhance security on its campus.
Clerys utilised some of the settlement to establish,
in living memory of their daughter, "Security
On Campus Incorporate"a not-for-profit organization
dedicated to the prevention of criminal violence at
universities and colleges and to students and parents,
"right to know"about criminal activity on
and around campus.
Northern Ireland, a provision of safe after dark students'
transport has remained a longstanding service by Students'
Unions. Recently, the provision of 'attack alarms'
has been introduced. Students are also advised to
book a taxi home when going on a night-out but in
reality, this is close to impossible. Because many
if not all, taxi companies do not accept a pre-booking
request at popular student establishments.
to the web pages and archives of some universities
and colleges in Northern Ireland the subject of crime
occurring on or near any campus is almost non-existent.
Local universities, colleges and the student's unions'
World Wide Web sites do provide advice for students
about matters of safety and victim prevention. But,
reports about crimes near or on campus are rare.
crime warning and reporting relating to areas of Northern
Ireland where students live while attending college
or university is far removed from the "Clery
Model". Crime warnings for students rest more
often with individual student victims of crime or
a family member reporting the matter to journalists.
Recently CCTV's and police phones have been installed
at selected South Belfast locations where students
socialise and live. Also, Some college and university
authorities have endorsed the introduction of new
anti social behaviour legislation and the employment
of community civilian wardens to "police"and
discipline students. No group is forewarning or forearming
students about the exact nature of the danger to their
safety in areas near, around or on Northern Ireland's
Clery family and the organisation they founded and
work for Security on Campus Inc, has spent the last
18 years protecting students and their families not
only from criminals but from university "spin
doctors". The Security on Campus Inc. is also
developing a unique Peer Education Program to train
college and university students to deliver campus
crime awareness programs to high school students in
the USA, (prospective college and university students).
A program, that aims to bring greater awareness of
students' rights and campus' danger to the American
university students and parents of tomorrow. "Lest
We Forget The Meaning of Her Death, That We Must Protect
One Another, So That Her Life Will Not Have Been In
on a memorial stone erected at Lehigh University to
the memory of 1st year student Jeanne Ann Clery).
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