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Clery Reporting: How to Properly Classify Incidents

Under the Clery Act, campus security authorities are obligated to ask certain questions while gathering details related to an incident. This list will help your campus security authorities to properly classify each Clery crime.

Here is what you would need to know to properly classify each Clery crime classification (if the classification is not listed, no specific suggestions are provided):

Forcible sex offenses

  • Was the victim penetrated with the suspect’s penis? If so, vaginally or anally?
  • Was the victim penetrated by the suspect with any other object? If so, vaginally or anally?
  • Did the suspect force the victim to perform oral sex on him/her?
  • Was the victim unable to give consent because of his/her temporary (drugs/alcohol) or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of his/her youth?
  • Did the suspect(s) touch private body parts of the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification? If so, what was touched?

Non-forcible sex offenses

  • Is the victim related to the suspect(s)?
  • How old is the victim, and how old is the suspect(s)?


  • Did the suspect(s) take or attempt to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of the victim?
  • Did the suspect take the property by force, threat of force or violence?
  • Did the suspect put the victim in fear?

Aggravated assault

  • Did the suspect(s) unlawfully attack the victim for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury?
  • Was a weapon used? If so, what type of weapon?
  • Was the victim injured? If so, describe the injury(s)?


  • Was there evidence of unlawful entry (trespass)?
  • Was there unlawful entry into a structure (building, apartment, office, etc)?
  • Was there evidence that the unlawful entry into the structure was made with the intent to commit a felony or theft?

Motor vehicle theft

  • What type of vehicle with a motor was stolen?
  • Was the vehicle taken by a person who doesn’t have legal access or owner consent?
  • Did the suspect take the vehicle out joyriding and then return it?
  • Liquor and drug violations
  • Where (location) was it obtained?
  • Who (person) provided it to you?
  • How and who brought it into the building/area where you were discovered?

Weapons violations

  • What type of weapon did the suspect possess, manufacture, sell, purchase, transport, conceal and/or use?


  • Did the suspect(s) willfully or maliciously (intentionally) burn or attempt to burn the property of another or his/her own property?

Hate (bias) crimes

  • Was the criminal offense committed against a person or property motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias?

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Dolores Stafford currently serves as president and CEO of D. Stafford & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in campus safety, security and law enforcement issues on college campuses. A new online training program for campus security authorities is available at www.dstaffordandassociates.com


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