March 12, 2012
While developing the incident management module of its NaviGate software, Lauren Innovations sent out an E-mail containing a hypothetical scenario to 15 colleges. Officials were asked to calculate the number of Clery Act-reportable crimes contained within the scenario.
The official number of Clery crimes in the scenario was one, but none of the respondents calculated correctly.
When the company conducted a follow-up with the 15 colleges, officials said they usually over estimated the number of incidents because they would not be fined by the U.S. Department of Education for submitting too high a number.
“From our 15-school example, this tells me that all the Clery statistics are quite skewed out there,” says Chris Porter, Lauren Innovations’ technical product manager.
Fortunately, using records management software can help campuses free up personnel and make Clery Act crime counts more accurate. Here’s how.
Customize Software to Fit Your Campus
Campuses looking to implement records management software with a Clery component should select scalable software that can be adjusted to fit the needs of the campus, according to Nick Kehoe, sales and marketing manager at Competitive Edge Software, Inc. (CESI)
CESI’ Report Exec allows users to re-label or remove unnecessary fields, “really stripping it down and making every piece of the puzzle exactly as you want it to be to avoid any confusion for officers,” he explains.
“Our philosophy is to provide more than you may even need but then give you the ability to customize every field in the program.”
Users of Lauren Innovations’ NaviGate can set up incident categories and subcategories. The program uses “a tree format that lets you drill down to a very finite level of detail if you want to,” Porter explains. For example, administrators can customize the software to allow users to specify if a weapon was used in an assault and even list types of weapons.
Capture Data the Way You Want
Administrators might choose to capture data about campus crimes in a way that does not directly match up with what is required on a Clery Act report. That isn’t a problem for NaviGate users, says Porter.
While the Clery Act includes a defined list of crimes campuses are required to report, “[NaviGate] allows our users to capture the data in the way they are used to and in any way they want; then our system actually does the matching between their categories and the Clery categories on the back end when we run the reports.”
For instance, administrators could opt to include a list of campus locations in NaviGate’s incident management module such as specific building names or general common areas. Lauren Innovations will take that data and change it to match the four types of locations dictated by the Clery Act: On-campus, residence hall, non-campus or public property.
Every report created in CESI’ Report-Exec goes through a review process, says Kehoe. “A few people [Clery officers] are assigned access to Clery reports through the program; they go report by report and they have to actually sign off on each report.”
If necessary, those officers will add to the Clery report based on the original incident report.
“They can manage this through a variety of search options to make sure they’re addressing every single report.”
Software Is a Time Saving Device
According to Ray Thrower, director of campus safety for Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minn., records management software can save campuses time and resources.
Thrower began using CESI’ Report Exec Clery module a year and a half ago. He also worked with Lauren Innovations to help develop NaviGate’s Clery module by sitting on an advisory board.
“Before [I started using CESI’ software], I’d wait until the summer to run the reports,” Thrower says. “It would take me three to four weeks to get through all of the reports and make sure that they were accurate. Now, I don’t have to worry with that. I know that my data is updated on a daily basis.”
Through the software, Thrower receives daily E-mails containing Clery reports, which require his final approval.
Each time a campus officer fills out a report, it automatically appears on the software’s dashboard when Thrower logs in. He verifies the report is complete by selecting a checkbox, which “sends it into ‘Clery land,’” he says.
Viewing Your Data Should Be Simple
Advance search options can give users easy access to data.
“This is one giant database program, which is taking in a ton of information about people, vehicles, you name it,” Kehoe says. “However, pulling [specific data] up is pretty easy.”
Report Exec allows users to search by report type, number of pages, names, dates and more. The data can also automatically be converted into charts and graphs within the program. The software can be set up to send automated E-mails to users so they will receive daily, weekly or monthly crime reports in their inbox if desired.