Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus and its surrounding areas see their share of violent crime. But the last five years of data from Loyola’s own police force, Campus Safety, only show part of the picture, and what was reported by Campus Safety often contained missing or inaccurate information.
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) reported 873 violent crimes in Campus Safety’s jurisdiction since 2013, while Campus Safety reported 205 in the same area — roughly half a mile east of West Glenwood Avenue, with North Pratt Boulevard on its north border and North Glenlake Avenue on its south border.
Many of the violent crimes not reported by Campus Safety occurred within less than a five minute walk from campus and include 89 aggravated assaults and batteries, 94 robberies, 44 crimes with guns and 29 sex crimes..
The vast majority of Loyola students who live off campus live in the areas where these crimes occurred, according to statistics for the most recently available year, 2015.
Campus Safety Chief Thomas Murray asserted the crimes weren’t intentionally being underreported and said it’s normal for CPD to respond to more incidents than Campus Safety.
“We have a good relationship with [CPD],” Murray said. “They’re good information-sharers, but they don’t send us everything.”
But of the nearly 1,000 total violent crime incidents reported, only about 60 were actually reported by both departments.
While Campus Safety may only be required by law to record crimes reported to their department, Loyola students aren’t getting a complete picture of the amount of violent crime near campus from Campus Safety’s records.
However, much of what Campus Safety does report and claims to refer to police may not be reaching CPD at all.
Nearly half of the violent crimes Campus Safety reported as “handled by another jurisdiction” — meaning both departments responded — weren’t in CPD’s records at all. These include serious incidents such as 12 armed robberies within blocks of campus and at the Loyola Red Line station, as well as a 2015 sexual assault in Mertz Hall.
A recent example of such inconsistencies was The Phoenix report that a sexual assault in Simpson Living and Learning Center, listed as “handled by another jurisdiction” by Campus Safety, was reported by CPD at a different address a few blocks away from Campus Safety’s report.
In addition, Campus Safety failed to log a shooting that occurred less than three blocks from campus for more than a month, even though it was witnessed by a Loyola student whose account of the shooting was written down by two Campus Safety officers.
At the time, Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham said the incident wasn’t logged because of a software update, but didn’t respond when pressed for more information. Murray later told The Phoenix the incident was left out of the log because of a “slight change” to the crime log system that could have made it easier for Campus Safety to sort Clery Act data, but said the changes were later abandoned.
Murray said there could be a few reasons for CPD’s apparent lack of Campus Safety reports. According to Murray, CPD and Campus Safety sometimes respond to the same incidents, but CPD officers arrive first and decide not to make a report. In those instances, Murray said Campus Safety would still make an entry of “handled by another jurisdiction” in the log, but CPD wouldn’t necessarily make a report.
However, a CPD official told The Phoenix that violent crime incidents such as the armed robberies and sexual assaults that Campus Safety claimed were handled by CPD would have appeared in police records if CPD handled them.
CPD also reported 29 sexual assaults in Campus Safety’s jurisdiction in addition to Campus Safety’s 21. Like the other incidents reported by CPD, they occurred in areas in which many students live. Only one of those cases resulted in an arrest.
Susan VanDerveer, a sophomore English major involved with a group on campus that advocates for sexual health, said while the number of reports Loyola didn’t know about wasn’t surprising, students and police departments should be sensitive to sexual assault survivors who don’t wish to share their stories.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge that not all survivors want to share their experiences at all, let alone with law enforcement or campus security,” VanDerveer said. “That being said, I think that more programs and safe spaces should be available to survivors if and when they are ready.”
Mira Krivoshey, a sexual assault advocate at Loyola’s Wellness Center, said the disparity could be because survivors of sexual assault can choose whether to report to Campus Safety or CPD. Krivoshey also said students at Loyola should be aware of the level of risk associated with living in an urban environment, specifically the risk of violent crimes such as sexual assault.
Under a federal law called the Clery Act, Campus Safety is required to maintain a publicly available log of all incidents reported to its jurisdiction in order to inform students and staff of crimes near campus. The log is required to be updated within two days of an incident being reported, unless putting the information online would threaten an ongoing investigation.
Although Campus Safety is a police force recognized by Illinois law, Campus Safety’s crime log differs from CPD’s publicly available log. While the format of the logs is mandated by the Clery Act, Campus Safety’s logs use less detailed descriptions of incidents and their locations, and several incidents in Campus Safety’s log simply had “Lake Shore Campus” or “campus safety office” as the location.
Campus Safety is also required to publish an annual report of all crimes on or “immediately adjacent” to its campuses. The report doesn’t include any incidents that occur off campus, even ones just a block away.
Laura Egan of the Clery Center, a nonprofit that provides training and resources for Clery Act compliance, said the lack of a report for the unreported Sept. 4 shooting could potentially be a violation of the Clery Act, but said such a determination would be up to the Department of Education.
“Withholding information from one’s daily crime log could be in violation of Clery Act regulations if the reason for withholding is not deemed justifiable by the Department of Education’s Clery Compliance Team,” Egan said. “But there is no definitive way to assert that at this time in regards to the specific situation you are describing without additional context about the investigation and what actions your institution’s police department did or did not take.”
In April, the Department of Education more than doubled the amount it can fine universities to almost $50,000 for each violation of the Clery Act, and has fined universities flawed crime logs before.
Earlier this year, Occidental College in Los Angeles, the University of Jamestown in North Dakota and the University of Utah were all found to be in violation of the Clery Act for shortcomings that included failing to properly maintain their daily crime logs. The University of Jamestown was fined more than $200,000. The Department of Education also cited failure to maintain a log in its record $2.4 million fine of Penn State University after football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually assaulting more than 40 children.
Additional reporting by Henry Redman and Mary Norkol.