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FAQ’s for Safety Alerts at Villanova University
What is a Safety Alert?
A Safety Alert is a way for the University to provide timely notification to members of the University community about serious crimes that have occurred on Villanova’s “Clery Geography” where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the University community. Therefore, the vast majority of crimes that occur on and around campus will not result in a Safety Alert. The purpose of these alerts is to increase awareness in a way that will aid in the prevention of future crimes by giving all members of our campus community the information they need to make informed decisions about their own safety. Safety Alerts also satisfy the “timely warning” requirement of the Clery Act.
What types of crimes will result in the issuance of a Safety Alert?
Safety Alerts will typically be issued for the following crimes: murder/non-negligent manslaughter, robbery, and major cases of arson. Alerts for the crimes of aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary, sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are considered on a case-by-case basis and depend upon a number of factors. These include the nature of the crime, the continuing danger to the campus community – such as whether the perpetrator was apprehended – and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.
Are Safety Alerts sent immediately after a crime is reported?
No. Unlike Nova Alert messages, Safety Alerts are not sent immediately. While it is important that the information go out in a timely manner, sufficient information must be gathered to determine whether a Safety Alert is appropriate and necessary. A delay may also occur so as not to impede an impending criminal investigation. In addition, crimes sometimes are not immediately reported. The length of time that has passed between when the incident occurred and when it was reported is also an important factor in whether a Safety Alert is issued. If too much time has passed (typically 7-10 days), the Alert loses the element of timeliness and is therefore not issued.
Will the victim’s name be included in a Safety Alert?
No, the victim’s name is not included in a Safety Alert.
How are Safety Alerts distributed?
Safety Alerts are sent by email to all students, faculty, and staff. Alerts are also posted on the Public Safety webpage for at least 30 days. Other methods of distribution include but are not limited to posting flyers, posting on the “Campus Alerts” channel of the MyNova web portal, and news media announcement.
Why is there limited information in most Safety Alerts?
Safety Alerts contain only the information needed to raise awareness that a serious crime, or series of crimes, has occurred. Safety Alerts are not news releases and are not intended to be all-inclusive accounts of the incident or situation. To respect the privacy of those involved, only the information that is deemed essential to aid in the prevention of future crimes is included in a Safety Alert.
Why aren’t updates sent after a Safety Alert is issued?
A Safety Alert is sent to raise awareness about crime on campus so that people can take steps to protect themselves. In addition, there may not be any follow up information to provide. At times, Public Safety may not be informed of the perpetrator’s identity, in particular when the victim does not wish to pursue an investigation. In an effort to respect a victim’s right to not report to law enforcement, an investigation is typically not initiated without the consent of the victim. In most instances student disciplinary proceedings, by law, are not public records. Villanova University therefore does not disclose details about the outcomes of the student disciplinary process.
How else can I get information about crime at Villanova?
The Department of Public Safety maintains a chronological log of all reported crimes for the past 60 days, which is available for public inspection at the Public Safety front desk in Garey Hall. Log entries older than 60 days are also available upon request. The Nova Safe app also has a crime map feature that displays crimes on a campus map. Nova Safe is available for download for both Apple and Android devices.
How are Safety Alerts related to the University’s Clery Act compliance?
Safety Alerts are considered “timely warnings” under the Clery Act. Much of what is issued, and the process used to draft and send Safety Alerts, is driven by the University’s legal duty to follow the Clery Act. Since the Clery Act only covers certain serious crimes in a specific and limited geographical area, Timely Warnings will only be issued for those crimes in the specified geographical area covered by the Clery Act. For more information on Clery Crimes and the University’s Clery Geography, visit the University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which can be found at: