Last semester, the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa alert system did not report 12 incidents, which the Clery Act says requires reporting of crimes that fit its seven major categories.
Those categories include criminal homicide; sex offenses; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary, where there is evidence of unlawful entry; motor vehicle theft and arson.
According to Campus Security personnel, in reporting crimes via the UH Alert system, Campus Security is guided by the requirements of the federal law known as the Clery Act, which requires that the university promptly notify its community of a significant or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus.
Three alerts that were reported by UH Mānoa Alerts last semester included asking the public for information regarding the whereabouts two sexual offenders and a break-in at the HELP building.
Of the 12 incidents not reported last semester, Campus Security personnel said not all Clery-related crimes and incidents require an alert or announcement.
“Each case is handled on its own merits,” Campus Security personnel said. “For example, we consider on-going safety concerns and other factors, like if a situation is recurring, before determining if the incident merits an announcement.”
Charles Noffsinger, chief of Campus Security, quoted the “Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting,” February 2011 (Chapter 6. Emergency Notification and Timely Warnings: Alerting Your Campus Community, page 98): “Under Clery, your institution is required to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus. An ‘immediate’ threat as used here encompasses an imminent or impending threat, such as an approaching forest fire, as well as a fire currently raging in one of your buildings.”
Abigail Boyer, assistant executive director of programs, outreach and communications at the Clery Center for Security On Campus, echoed this saying the determinations are made on a case-by-case basis given the facts of the crime, such as the nature of the crime and the continuing danger to the campus community.
“For example, if a burglary happens on campus and the perpetrator is apprehended, the institution may determine that there is not a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community and may choose not to issue a warning,” Boyer said.
She said the Department of Education enforces the act, so only it can determine whether an institution is in compliance.
According to Noffsinger, the decision on whether to issue an Emergency Alert or a Timely Warning as required by Clery is typically a collaborative process involving various individuals or offices, depending upon the circumstances.
“In ‘clear-cut’ situations, I as the Chief or my designees have the authority to issue these notices,” he said.
At UH Hilo, the decision to issue a security alert is made in coordination and consultation between the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs and the Director of Campus Security, except in extreme emergencies when the process is implemented at the sole direction of the Director of Campus Security or alternate.
The Hilo campus issues these alerts when it is determined that “there is a series of criminal activity, usually property crime related or other criminal activity that is not subject to the timely warning standard required by the Clery Act,” according to a criteria for issuing a Clery timely warning notice document.
Here is a list of incidents that are classified under the Clery-defined seven major categories that weren’t reported via UH Alerts last semester.
Burglary at Bilger
At 3 p.m., an educational specialist from the Chemistry Department reported a burglary that took place between Aug. 30 at 5:30 p.m. and Sept. 3 at 8:10 a.m. According to the educational specialist, an Apple iPad belonging to the Chemistry Department was stolen. Campus Security reported negative signs of forced entry and added that the doors were locked and the windows were not tampered with.
Burglary at Hale Noelani
Between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. a $1,200 laptop was stolen from a student’s room in Hale Noelani. The owner of the laptop suspects that one or more of her three guests stole it when she left the room to escort a friend to a taxi. When she returned to her room, the door was locked, and her three guests and her laptop were gone.
Burglary at Les Murakami Stadium
Between Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. and Sept. 18 at 7:50 a.m., burglars smashed a lanai sliding glass door on the third floor of Les Murakami Stadium. A UH staff member reported that nothing was stolen.
Burglary at Johnson Hall-A
UH staff reported a burglary between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. The UH staff member said the suspect, who appeared to be a middle- or high-school aged male, ate eggs from a coffee filter. When questioned about his identity, the suspect said he was waiting for his friends. The suspect later disappeared. Campus Security reported that the suspect entered in an opening between the ceiling and the top of an entrance door.
A student reported a burglary to Campus Security. Perpetrators stole the student’s laptop, valued at $800, as well as her roommate’s laptop between Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. Campus Security reported no signs of forced entry. The victim suspects that perpetrators entered her room through her window, located on the first floor.
Burglary at Hale Noelani
Campus Security reported that perpetrators snuck in through an unlocked window on the third floor between midnight and 10 a.m. and stole a GoPro valued at $250. The victim reported that she closed her window, but did not secure it. The victim’s roommate noticed the window was open at 2 a.m.
Burglary II at Energy House
Burglars broke into the Energy House between Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 9:10 a.m. According to reports, a stopper was wedged under the door, giving burglars the opportunity to enter. Staff said nothing was stolen, but the space inside had evidence of occupancy.
Burglary I at Hale Noelani
At 12:23 a.m., three non-resident males entered a room uninvited. According to staff, “the males possibly attempted to abduct one of the residents.” After the incident, two of the suspects entered into a vehicle and tried to flee. Campus Security blocked the suspects’ vehicle at Wilder Ave. and Momi Way, preventing their escape. HPD arrived at the scene and detained the suspects.
Sex Assault IV at Sinclair Library
On the second floor of Sinclair Library, a student caught a male masturbating. The incident occurred between 2:15 and 2:20 p.m. Staff reported the incident.
Auto Theft at Hale Aloha Cafeteria parking lot
At 5:14 p.m., a student reported that her 1998 Mazda Protégé, valued at $2,000, had been stolen. The incident occurred between 3:30 to 5:14 p.m.
Burglary II at Henke Hall
Burglars climbed up a wall, removed jalousies and entered into a staff member’s office between 3 to 5:50 p.m. Burglars stole a UH purchasing credit card.
Burglary at Wa’ahila faculty housing
Staff reported that burglars broke into a first floor apartment, entering through a jalousie. According to a report, burglars stole $1,200 worth of electronics and jewelry. The incident occurred between Dec. 10 at 10:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.