Crime Statistics Doubted

No Rapes Reported

No rapes were reported on the Harvard campus between June 31, 1991 and July 1, 1992, according to statistics disclosed by the Harvard Police Department in compliance with a new federal law.

But some women's advocacy groups and anti-crime groups said the police statistics are not representative and may even be misleading.

The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 requires all colleges and universities receiving federal aid to publish campus crime information, including rape statistics.

The period for which the statistics are reported varies from school to school because there is no set protocol required by the law. The only requirement is that statistics for a variety of campus crimes be "prepared, published, and distributed through appropriate publicity or mailings."

Police Chief Paul E. Johnson said the last on-campus rape at Harvard occurred in the spring of 1991.

Janet A. Viggiani, the former assistant dean for coeducation and chair of the Administrative Board's date rape task force, said that "it's not often that women report [rape] to the police."

Viggiani said she has been informed "informally" of cases of rape, but that no formal charges had been made since 1991.

Viggiani said only one case has been brought before the Ad Board in the last three years, and the body nev- er established that a rape occurred.

Viggiani said that despite this, the rape statistic is "not representative of day-to-day being a student."

"What those statistics do is give an incomplete picture of what is going on on campuses", Viggiani said. "It's accurate in so far as it goes, but it is limited."

Deborah J. Wexler '95, co-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students and a Crimson editor, said the Harvard police must begin checking Ad Board records for evidence of unreported rape.

"I think the Harvard Police Department should definitely look beyond their own records and look at Ad Board records and perhaps check with UHS to see if there is evidence of unreported rape," Wexler said.

And Viggiani said it is difficult for students to report rape cases to the Ad Board "because these are people you know, part of family you expect to be on your side."

"We have to work on making [the Ad Board] procedure sensible and reasonable...and think very carefully about what we do."

Security On Campus, a Pennsylvania organization that lobbied Congress to pass the law, has criticized reporting of crime statistics when they were released earlier this month.

In a press release, Connie and Howard Clery, the group's founders, said underreporting of rape cases was extensive.

"It is appalling to...see the majority of the colleges reporting zero rapes when we know that rape is epidemic on our campuses," the Clerys said. "The deans, rape crisis centers, and residents advisors--the ones to whom rape victims usually go for help--are not reporting the rapes to the person or department responsible for collecting the campus crime statistics!