Campus Alerts Keep Community Informed, Aware
Posted September 13, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
When it comes to safety, Georgia Tech provides two types of alerts that every member of the campus community should know about.
Knowledge is power when it comes to not being a victim of a crime. This map shows where crimes that merited a Clery Alert (distributed to warn about crimes that represent threats to the campus community) occurred between April 1 and June 30.
The first one to know is the Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS) alert, which is issued by the Office of Emergency Preparedness when members of the campus community should take immediate action. These alerts are triggered by situations such as evacuations, severe weather, or other threatening scenarios.
The other type of alert you will receive is the Clery Act safety alert, an email recognized by its bracketed subject line, red headline, and subsequent bullet points. Clery alerts are distributed as timely warning of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.
The federal Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on or near their campuses. Because the Clery alerts are meant to inform of an imminent threat, if an incident occurs and the perpetrator is immediately apprehended, an alert will likely not be sent.
Though the Department of Education only requires that alerts be issued for incidents on campus, Georgia Tech Police make it a practice to over-communicate when it comes to Clery alerts. For this reason, many of the Clery alerts issued during the past few years related to incidents off campus, in areas where large populations of students live, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the safety of the community.
“In order to give timely warning to those in the area, alerts are generated using the best information police have at the time of an incident,” said Georgia Tech Deputy Chief of Police Robert Connolly. “In some cases, subsequent interviews can reveal new or conflicting information about a case.” In these instances, officers review initial reports and re-interview victims if needed to fill in missing pieces.
Failing to issue an alert in a situation that warrants it can mean both an increased danger for those in the area, as well as fines from the Department of Education when it conducts regular audits of campus practices.
Clery alerts are emailed to all students, faculty and staff unless they opt out. GTENS alerts are also sent via email, but campus community members wanting a phone call and text alert may enable those options at passport.gatech.edu.