By John McDevitt

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There has been criticism on the way some universities report crime occurring in nearby neighborhoods where many students live.

It’s federal law that colleges and universities have to issue an alert if there is an incident on campus causing an “immediate threat” or a “continuing threat” to students and staff on campus.

If there is an incident, like an assault off school properly, perhaps just blocks away, the alert is not automatic and it’s at the discretion of the institution — but that doesn’t always come in a timely manner because of red tape often involved.

“There needs to be designated people who can issue a warning quickly if there is this immediate threat to campus safety,” says Alison Kiss, executive director of the Wayne-based nonprofit Clery Center for Security on Campus. “So that is something we work with a lot of campuses on is – Are you identifying who issues that warning? Are there multiple people with that power? What are the steps that they have to go through? and there should not have to be a lot of steps to get the message out there for the better of the community.”

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month.

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