Public Universities and Private Crime

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Currently, the University of Washington’s Notifications of Criminal Incidents notify members of the UW community about less than five percent of all crimes that occur in the University District, and the criteria the emergency communications committee uses to determine whether to report specific events is not easily accessible to the UW community. This lack of transparency and clear criteria prompted the question of how transparent UW’s emergency communications should be to maintain the highest level of student safety possible. To answer this question, I conducted case studies of other universities’ emergency communications systems, reviewed public records about UW’s emergency communications systems, and interviewed the founder and head of UW Alert. As a result of this research, I have a much more comprehensive understanding of UW’s emergency communications. I used my contact with Dr. Arkans to make recommendations as to how UW’s emergency communications could be operated more transparently while still maintaining victim privacy. As a result of my research and recommendations, information about UW’s emergency communications should be more accessible to the UW community.