Timely Warnings, also known as Public Safety Notices, are provided to heighten safety awareness by giving students, faculty and staff notification of Clery crimes that occur only on campus property, noncampus property, or on public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus (see CSA reporting form for definitions of these property classifications) and are considered by Ohio State to present a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.
Clery crimes include Murder and NonNegligent Manslaughter; Manslaughter by Negligence; Sexual Assault (Rape, Fondling, Incest, Statutory Rape); Robbery; Aggravated Assault; Burglary; Motor Vehicle Theft; Arson; Hate Crimes (which can include all of the previously listed crimes and Larceny Theft, Simple Assault, Intimidation, and Destruction-Damage-Vandalism of Property where the offense manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of perpetrator’s bias against the victim based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, or disability); Domestic Violence; Dating Violence; Stalking; and violations of Ohio weapons, drug, and liquor laws.
University Police are responsible for preparing a Public Safety Notice when a crime is reported to or brought to their attention and that crime represents a serious or continuing threat to the safety of students and employees. Other university offices and departments will report crimes to University Police for timely warning consideration when they have reason to believe that the crime could represent a serious or continuing threat to students or employees. Information for alerts also may come from other law enforcement agencies or other offices. While every attempt will be made to distribute the alert as soon as possible after an incident or series of incidents is reported, the release will occur after a determination is made that the crime(s) represents a continuing threat to students and employees and is subject to the availability of accurate facts concerning the incident(s).
Information about criminal incidents is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether those incidents represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. Incidents will be reviewed based on the nature of the crime, the facts of the case, the information known to the University Police, and the continuing danger to the campus community.
Criminal suspects often are unknown to the victims. In the instance of a violent crime occurring between two individuals who know each other, University Police will look at each instance to determine if the suspect poses a continued threat to the campus community and will issue a warning when necessary.
Public Safety Notices also seek information that may lead to arrest and conviction of the offender when violent crimes against people or major crimes against property have been reported to the police and may contain crime prevention tips and safety information. University Police make every effort to properly classify a criminal incident when issuing a Public Safety Notice. Upon further analysis and investigation, it may be determined that incidents for which Public Safety Notices are issued do not fall within the definitions of reportable crimes included in this report; therefore, some incidents for which Public Safety Notices are issued may not be included in the crime statistics provided by this report.
Public Safety Notice Procedure
University Police will prepare a Public Safety Notice when a report of a Clery crime is received that is determined to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. Public Safety Notices are most frequently issued in situations involving a violent crime against a person or a particularly threatening crime or series of crimes against property, but they could be issued for any Clery crime, if warranted. Notices may be issued for such crimes that occur within the Clery reporting geography – on campus property, noncampus property, or on public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. Public Safety Notices are sequentially numbered, beginning January 1 of each year, and provide details of the crime, a description of the suspect if known, information on whom to contact about the investigation, and often crime prevention tips. Public Safety Notices do not include the names of crime victims.
Information included in Public Safety Notices:
- A succinct statement of the incident.
- Possible connection to previous incidents, if applicable.
- Physical description of the suspect, if available.
- Photo or composite drawing of the suspect, if available.
- Date and time the bulletin was released.
- Other relevant and important information about the crime(s).
- Actions taken by Public Safety officials in response to the crime(s).
- Information about crime prevention, personal safety or other community safety resources.
University Police may not include some known information in a Public Safety Notice if providing that information could risk compromising law enforcement efforts. Additionally, Public Safety Notices may be updated if new or more accurate information becomes available to the University Police.
Public Safety Notices are distributed by emails sent to all @osu.edu email addresses, which are accessible and available to all students, faculty, and staff. These emails are drafted by the University Police and are distributed by the Department of Public Safety. In some circumstances, the University Police may distribute flyers to appropriate university departments to be posted in affected areas of campus. While several local media outlets receive Public Safety Notices through the subscription service discussed below, the University Police also may contact the media directly to distribute information about criminal incidents in some situations.
Public Safety Notices also may be viewed at dps.osu.edu/psn. In addition to the emails sent to all students and staff, the University Police offers a free service that sends an email update to any email address when a Public Safety Notice is issued. Visit dps.osu.edu/psn to subscribe to this service.
Note that Public Safety Notices are a separate and distinct process from the emergency notification provided by the Buckeye Alert system, but when an emergency notification is issued for a criminal incident, a separate timely warning may not be issued for the same circumstances. For information about Buckeye Alert text messaging, visit buckeyealert.osu.edu.