TEMPE, AZ - Most public universities are required to follow the Clery Act -- which states a university must post accurate crime statistics.
The federal law requires universities to ask neighboring police agencies for Clery crime statistics in three separate areas: on-campus, public property (as in streets, sidewalks and parking lots near campus) and non-campus areas.
Attorney Judd Nemiro says, "Non-campus places would be things that are owned and operated by ASU, but not specifically on campus, so things like student run organizations.”
Crimes handled by Arizona State University Police get reported immediately, but the ones that occur near campus don't always get added because they fall into a grey area.
For example, back in 2010, ASU student Kyleigh Sousa was brutally killed directly across from campus.
The 21-year-old was robbed and then dragged behind a car. However, the robbery started in a private parking lot. Under the Clery Act, it doesn't have to be included in ASU’s crime report.
ASU’s Annual Fire and Safety handbook says various police departments are “unable to provide a statistical breakdown appropriate for the Clery Act."
However ABC15 found a discrepancy. Back in September of 2013, Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff did question ASU about the inaccuracy of the clause. You can read the correspondence here.
ASU Official Julie Newberg says that clause doesn’t mean the police departments don’t provide the university with information.
“Letters are sent to each of the agencies every year and many of them do respond with the statistics that they can filter out,” said Newberg.
Newberg says it’s because how data is reported differs.
“Cities report data by FBI standards, which is not the same as universities that are asked to report crime data according to the Clery Act,” said Newberg. “Definitions of crimes also differ according to the difference in federal reporting law. That is why the statistical breakdown of city crime data is not appropriate for the Clery Act report.
Newberg says police departments do send them information and ASU filters out what statistics work under the Clery guidelines.
ASU says they provide a third party link to a website to get local statistics for “extra measure since the definitions of what each captures is different,” said Newberg.
Violating the Clery Act could result in losing some federal funding.