College Crime Prevention – Dealing With A Broken System

The recently passed re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act included a smaller piece of legislation called the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVe) that was aimed at college campuses across the country and the crimes committed there on. When we first read these pieces of legislation we were happy to see that steps were being taken in the right direction.

But now that the euphoria has died down we can tell that SaVe does little to change what, in our opinion, is a broken system. “The law still makes no effort to switch enforcement and judicial systems away from campus authorities.”

SaVe requires universities to codify institutional disciplinary proceedings. They must notify victims that they have the option of alerting police but no mandate to do so.

Almost by definition employees of the universities, including university administrators, do not have the primary interest of the victim at heart contrary to written statements meant for publicity purposes. We have even gone so far as to claim that university officials do everything they can to hide the true statistics. What are those statistics?

According to one study 25% of women in college will experience rape or attempted rape and those are just the cases that we know about. Another study from a highly regarded source says that fewer than 5% of the cases were even reported to law enforcement. And you may have seen this-that 90% of these cases have an alcohol or drug component.

School officials have good intentions and do their jobs very well, but their actions and reactions when it comes to crime committed on campus is tied to the university’s reputation. Campus judicial systems are little more than a joke. Witness a case of rape, considered a felony everywhere except on a college campus, where it may be treated as a violation of the student handbook-a big difference.

When it comes to sentencing, a felony conviction could mean jail time. In the campus judicial system, it could mean a suspension for a semester from school however violations of those sanctions occur with great frequency.

Then there is an issue of a criminal record. A felony conviction doesn’t look good when you’re applying for a job, but an on-campus violation of the student handbook garners no attention. A parking or speeding ticket on campus could last longer on your record then a sexual assault, and in many cases it is less severe for a criminal to commit sexual assault than to receive a DUI.

Female students on campus still need to defend themselves against these sexual assaults. And the best way to do that is with a pepper spray or a stun gun. These are nonlethal self-defense products and can disable an assailant for as much as 45 minutes.

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