During MU's Fall 2012 semester, students have received six Clery release emails from the MU Police Department regarding various assaults that have occurred.
During last year’s fall semester, there were only two Clery releases sent out.
The department is required to send out timely warnings about reported crimes if a serious or continuing threat exists for the campus community, according to the annual Campus Crime and Fire Safety Report.
"If it is determined that there is a serious or continuing threat, the supervisor, or their designee shall notify the public information officer, or their designee who will send out a media release, mass email, and/or do a Web posting of the incident to help prevent similar crimes from happening," the report stated.
There has not been a change to the policy of sending out a Clery release, MUPD spokesman Brian Weimer said.
Some students have voiced concern about Clery releases and are worried about their safety on campus.
“I’m definitely a little more wary," freshman Candace Rosen said. "When you get an email the night before about an assault happening, you are not going to walk past that corner the same ever again.”
A number of the assaults reported are in the proximity of campus but not necessarily on campus itself, which should make students less concerned, Weimer said.
Freshman Ian Stratta said he realizes the goal of the Clery releases.
“I mean, you sort of have to cringe, you know?” Stratta said. “I read that there was someone beaten or raped, and I wonder if that could have been me or one of my friends. It's frightening, but I'd still consider it a necessary evil just to show us what's out there.”
The first Clery release this fall was sent out regarding a woman who reported being assaulted Aug. 8 on University Avenue. The most recent Clery release was sent out Wednesday after a woman was reportedly assaulted near the Women's and Children's Hospital.
There were 11 Clery releases total sent out in 2011. In 2012 so far, the same number has been released.
Another concern some have expressed is regarding the descriptions in the Clery releases.
The information in the releases is often minimal, and they have predominantly described African-American men committing the crimes.
“Students feel many stereotypes are perpetuated in these releases, and they have been quite upset about its frequency,” said Jamie Crockett, Legion of Black Collegians communications chairwoman, in an email to The Maneater. “Quite frankly, a lot of African-American males on this campus could fit the description mentioned — however, not all of them have supposedly done the crime.”
Weimer clarified the descriptions can be very vague due to the victim’s inability to describe the criminal. He said that though the descriptions are vague, the information about the criminal is less relevant than the time and place where it occurred. He also said there is no bias in the Clery releases.
“The descriptions can be limited, but the information must be put out," Weimer said.