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Rutgers implements expanded crime notification system

An expanded crime notification system to alert the Rutgers community of serious crimes that occur beyond the guidelines of the Clery Act was announced today by University President Robert L. Barchi.

Students, faculty and staff at Rutgers will now be informed about crimes that occur in off-campus locations most heavily populated and frequented by Rutgers students, according to a press release.

The announcement comes after students and parents voiced concerns about off-campus safety following the murder of 22-year-old Billy McCaw, a former Rutgers student who was found beaten to death in the backyard of a house on Hartwell Street.

Rutgers University Police Department’s failure to issue crime alerts after McCaw’s death instigated complaints about campus security.

Richard Edwards, interim chancellor for Rutgers-New Brunswick, who expressed his disagreement with the restricted jurisdiction at a Rutgers University Student Assembly meeting, sent an email this afternoon informing the community about the new system that will cover the fifth and sixth wards of the city.

Under the Clery Act, notifications are required only when a crime occurs on or immediately adjacent to the campus and when there is an ongoing threat to the campus community.

Under the new policy, the University will also update students about serious incidents against Rutgers students, faculty and staff in other parts of the city as soon as the University becomes aware of any such incident.

“The federal law establishes minimum reporting requirements, in most cases, compliance with the Clery Act suffices for notification purposes. In certain cases, however, especially those involving serious injury, we think it is appropriate to go beyond compliance with the minimum federal legal standard,” Edwards said in the press release.

Nearly a month after McCaw’s death, the Middlesex County Prosecutor along with local law enforcement agencies are still investigating the murder.

The president also announced that he has asked the chancellors of the University’s campuses in Camden and Newark to review their notification policies and determine if changes are warranted at those locations, according to the release.

Edwards said the University is looking for a quick implementation of the new policy that will capitalize on the University’s close working relationships with law enforcement and elected officials in the city of New Brunswick.

“The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is paramount, and I believe this new policy will enhance our efforts to keep the campus community informed and safe,” Edwards said in the email.

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