Our opinion: UMPD must return to its solid reporting ways

Once again, we were all greeted yesterday morning with the all-too-common “Crime Alert.”

The University of Miami Police Department has an effective system of alerting students about recent criminal activity around campus. Because it is our community, we want to be informed when some delinquent comes to our neighborhood and commits an act of crime against one of our peers.

But what happens when the notification comes out, say, seven days after the occurrence? How should we feel about this?

Well, for one, the longer it takes to get out the name and description of the perpetrator, the longer it’ll take to catch them. The longer it takes to catch them, the more likely they are to strike again.

According to Janette Frevola of the Coral Gables Police Department, the likely reason for the delay is that the report wasn’t correct or complete. She said you must also take into account police officers’ days off and record officers’ days off.

Both of those speculative explanations aren’t consistent with the police department’s duty to keep us safe.

For the academic year 2007-2008, the UMPD sent out five crime alerts. The largest amount of time between approximate time of crime to the alert being sent out was less than 48 hours. So far in the 2008-2009 academic school year, three have been sent out. One took two days, one took four and the most recent took almost a full week. That’s unacceptable warning, and doesn’t live up to the standard the UMPD has set for itself.

If something happens tonight, we should be informed of it right away. Even if it’s just the time, place and minimal information about the event, we deserve to know. We’re better off knowing little than knowing nothing. A follow-up e-mail can be sent as information comes in; fortunately, there’s no postage for e-mail.

So, to the UMPD: You’ve done it before, so lets do it again. Students are eager to help solve crimes perpetrated upon our peers. Give us timely information to allow us to do what we can.