Annual crime report still not quite accurate


In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Act, colleges nationwide are required to report and publish certain crime statistics by Oct. 1 every year, with the crimes dating back three calendar years.

Last week, the El Camino Police Department published their report, available on their website. But the report was inaccurate.

The morning after the report was published, EC Police Chief Michael Trevis said discrepancies were found. Even after the report was updated, the numbers still don’t match up with what the Union has published.

“I believe (the report) is accurate based upon the reports that we have. We try our best to accurately report discrepancies because we feel being truthful and transparent for students and parents is so important,” Trevis said. “We’re trying to be as accurate as possible. There’s always human error.”

Officer Jan Caldwell, who prepares the report, said the revised report is accurate to the “best of (her) knowledge.” She added the numbers still don’t add up because the federal government has different definitions of crimes than the state government does.

According to the original report released last Wednesday, there were six liquor law violation disciplinary referrals and 12 drug abuse violation disciplinary referrals in 2013. In the updated report, both categories have zeros next to them.

Liquor law violations arrests were reported as zero in the original report in the same year, but the number has been updated to five. Drug abuse violations arrests were zero in the original report, but it’s been updated to 11.

Caldwell said the reason behind the inaccurate numbers was that she “miscounted” when she was going through the reports.

The updated report still shows there were zero weapon violations arrests in 2013. However, in October 2013, a football player was arrested on campus by ECPD for “possession of firearms at a public institution,” Trevis said in an email at the time.

“We look at all of the reports that are generated and (Caldwell) makes sure they all fit,” Trevis said.

In May 2013, The Union reported ECPD responded to a suspicious vehicle in an Alondra Park parking lot. A male in the car was arrested for possession of cocaine. On the report, there’s a section for crimes that take place around campus, but the crime wasn’t reported on it.

Caldwell said the reasoning behind this is that that parking lot was “far away,” adding only crimes along the fence line and sidewalks are included in the report even though ECPD responded to the incident.

She said some crimes that are published in Police Beat won’t be on the report because they’re farther away from campus, including the Alondra Park incident. The Alondra Park entrance is about .2 miles from EC property, according to the app Sports Tracker.

“Honestly, I’m the one who decides as far as I go (to count reported crimes),” Caldwell said. “There are so many things on the fence. It’s judgment calls.”

The report says there were no cases of arson, but The Union reported one took place near the library last year that was “intentionally set,” according to a Police Beat entry. Caldwell said the reason for leaving it out of the Clery Act report is because a report about the incident was never written.

“If there was any thought it was intentionally set, a report should have been written,” Caldwell said.

Of the 29 crimes listed in the report, 23 are listed as not happening once in 2013 on campus. In 2012, 22 were listed as not happening.

The report shows most forms of aggravated assault, most hate crimes, liquor law violation arrests, and weapon violation disciplinary referrals all have not taken place once from 2011 to 2013.

Trevis added that with the crimes that are reported, many involve people who don’t attend EC, but come here to commit a crime. “Of drug violations, only one was a student. The rest were non-students,” he said.

“It’s important to us the information is accurate, truthful, and transparent,” Trevis said. “I believe in my heart the institution is safe.”

Editor’s note: The headline has been updated for clarity.