Crime stats reported by some California colleges inaccurate

May 27, 2021 GMT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Four California colleges and universities failed to accurately or completely report crime statistics as required by federal law, including Sonoma State University that did not include a sexual assault that had occurred on campus in 2019, according to a state audit whose findings were released Thursday.

The institutions were the University of California, Irvine, San Joaquin Delta College, Santa Clara University, and Sonoma State University. The audit found each had inaccurate or incomplete information to varying degrees.

Sonoma did not report a sexual assault because it did not follow up with the police to determine the specific location of the incident even though it was aware that the incident had occurred on university property, according to the report. The sexual assault was alleged to have occurred in a dorm room.

State Auditor Elaine Howle stated in the report that “this incident is especially troubling” because the determination that this was not worth including in its crime statistics meant that Sonoma did not consider issuing a timely warning to its campus community as required by federal law.

Sonoma and Santa Clara, the audit found, also did not maintain accurate daily crime logs, something considered to be critical to informing the public about the safety of each campus and is required under the Clery Act.

Howle stated in the report that because of these problems, the public is not getting the full, accurate picture of how safe a campus is.

Howle recommended the institutions take steps to comply with federal law. Sonoma said it was implementing changes to make improvements.