Federal Statistics On Campus Crime In Baltimore Present Confusing Disparities

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Campus crime statistics reported to the federal government show there were 15 burglaries at Morgan State University in 2010. But a review of the university's daily crime log found twice as many.

When reporting campus crime to the U.S. Department of Education, Morgan State downgraded many burglaries to thefts, following a federal directive that crimes not be reported as burglaries without evidence of unauthorized entry. And thefts — there were more than 100 reported at Morgan State in 2010 — are not included in the federal data on campus crime.

So a prospective or current student searching online for that data would find no evidence that thefts occurred, even though many experts say they are the most common campus crime.

The situation is just one example of the confusion that plagues college crime statistics. While experts say the data are a vast improvement over the available information from earlier decades, the system for informing the public of campus crime remains a work in progress.

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