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Boston Police Dispute CP Claims of Inaccuracy in Crime Reporting

By Douglas E. Heimburger
news Editor

The Boston Police have disputed recent claims by the Campus Police that they failed to report incidents at Boston-based fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups in the public crime logs available at their offices.

Brendan D. Flynn, administrative assistant to the Boston Police Commissioner, wrote to The Tech last week to criticize the initial claims by the Campus Police that both the CPs and the Boston Police were responsible for omissions of crime data from 1992 through 1997 ["Campus Police Acknowledge Omission of FSILGCrime Stats", March 31].

"The district has provided the information requested consistently"since theCampus Police requested crime data on May 10, 1996, Flynn wrote. The CPs specifically requested information only on crimes required to be reported annually under the Campus Crime Prevention Act of 1990, Flynn added.

The CampusPolice recently admitted that their federally-required crime summaries had omitted crime information from off-campus FSILGs due to accounting errors on their part. They also claimed at the time that the Boston Police Department had been providing erroneous information both in its faxed reports since 1996 and in its public logs before that time.

A total of 135 incidents, most of them burglaries, were not included in the annual crime summaries between 1992 and 1997. Four of the incidents involved drug, weapons, or liquor law violations. Two forcible sex offenses occurred during that period.

Chief of Campus Police Anne P.Glavin conceded that the Boston Police have been providing accurate information since 1996, but she maintains that records before then were not as accurate.

Before 1996, Campus Police officers traveled weekly to the Boston Police District Four offices to look at the public police log, which is similar to the one that the Campus Police maintain themselves.

During that time, the CampusPolice frequently observed weeks when no incidents occurred in FSILGs, Glavin said.

After TheTechrequested the release of detailed crime logs from all Boston FSILGs during the period, the CampusPolice requested the more detailed computerized crime logs from the Boston Police.

At that point, the Campus Police discovered incidents at Boston FSILGs that they had not previously known about, Glavin said. "In some cases, there was no [information] to be gathered."

Glavin specifically noted a breaking and entering incident at Phi Sigma Kappa on January 3, 1996 and an assault and battery at Delta Tau Delta on March 26, 1995 as examples of incidents that were not reported in the log that Campus Police officers viewed at the District Four office.

Boston Police say logs are accurate

After reviewing Boston Police records, Flynn said the two incidents in question were in the police log that would have been available for the Campus Police to view at the District Four office. "The 1995 and 1996 incidents are definitely there."

An earlier incident in 1994 was unable to be verified because records from a manual logging system had been destroyed, Flynn added.

In addition, District Four staffers said that the Campus Police never contacted them before May 1996, Flynn said. The head of District 4 has "never heard of any problems concerning access to information," he added.

Glavin said that before May 1996, the Campus Police never formally requested information from the Boston Police since they were traveling to collect the information themselves.

"I stand by what my staff has been doing,"Glavin said. She contends that the Boston logs are inaccurate.

Glavin added that the department has been working hard to meet the guidelines of the crime act since its inception."It's obvious that we have been gathering info since 1992"on off-campus crime.

More important than the disputes over who is to blame for the inaccuracies in the annual reports before 1996,is the new relationship that the Boston Police and Campus Police have formed to guarantee that off-campus crime information will be accurate in the future, Glavin said. "We have worked to get a better system."