The University of Iowa

Crime Alerts

Frequently Asked Questions

Crime Alerts (also known as timely warnings) are issued in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which requires all universities to disclose information about crime to aid in the prevention of similar crimes and to assist in the identification of offenders.

The purpose of these notices are to provide you with the information you need to take steps to enhance your personal safety and take any appropriate precautions.

These notices are triggered by crimes that have already occurred, but could represent a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees. UI DPS issues a notice for any Clery Act crime committed within the UI’s Clery geography that is reported to campus security authorities or a local law enforcement agency and is considered by the institution to represent a potential serious or continuing threat. 

Clery Act crimes include: murder, rape, fondling, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. 

Many people confuse Hawk Alerts and Crime Alerts. Here are the differences:

Hawk Alerts (Emergency Notifications)

Scope: Wide focus on any significant emergency or dangerous situation (may include Clery Act crimes).

Why: Hawk Alerts (Emergency Notification) are triggered by an event that is currently occurring on or imminently threatening the campus. The Department of Public Safety initiates Hawk Alerts for any significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on the campus involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students and employees.

Where: Applies to situations that occur on the University of Iowa campus.

When: Initiated immediately upon confirmation that a dangerous situation or emergency exists or threatens.

How: By phone, text, email, website and digital signage on campus.

 

Crime Alerts (Timely Warnings)

Scope: Narrow focus on Clery Act crimes.

Why: Crime Alerts (Timely Warnings) are triggered by crimes that have already occurred but represent an ongoing threat. The Department issues a crime alert for any Clery Act crime committed on the University of Iowa's Clery geography that is reported to campus security authorities or a local law enforcement agency, and that is considered by the institution to represent a continuing threat to students and employees.

Where: Applies to crimes that occur on the University of Iowa's Clery geography.

When: Issued as soon as pertinent information is available.

How: By sending a mass email to all students and employees.

 

There are a variety of reasons that may contribute to a delay in a crime alert, including:

  • Crimes are not always reported to the police, and are sometimes reported hours or days later. 
  • Crimes that are reported to a partner law enforcement agency are sometimes reported to UI Police at a later date.
  • Crimes are sometimes reported with incomplete information, and it can take time to gather key details (e.g. what happened?, when?, where?). The university aims to send a crime alert as soon as details regarding the reported crime are available.

Crime alerts are intended to alert students and employees of a potential danger so they can make informed decisions on steps they can take to enhance their personal safety when it comes to preventing similar crimes. Federal law requires universities to share this important safety information with campus as soon the pertinent details are available, and the university aims to share general information about the crime (crime type, general location, and time of occurrence) as soon as it has been gathered. 

At the time of the notification, suspect descriptions may not be available, may be incomplete, or may change as the investigation continues and new information becomes available. In some circumstances, the university will not share an exact location in order to protect the safety and identity of the victim/survivor of the crime.

  • Crime alerts are sent only when there is a serious or ongoing threat to the community, so that people can take steps to protect themselves.
  • There may not be any additional details to provide. Often, there is no law enforcement investigation because the university may not be informed of the identity of the offender(s) or others involved. In the event there is enough detailed information for a law enforcement investigation, follow-up information regarding an arrest would typically be shared in the news section of the UI Police website, social media channels, and through local media.
  • In an effort to respect a victim’s right to not report to law enforcement, a police investigation is typically not initiated without the consent of the victim.
  • Individual student disciplinary proceedings are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), so the university cannot provide details about specific students who have been involved in a disciplinary process related to a crime alert. However, the UI Office of Institutional Equity produces an annual report that includes information about disciplinary/safety measures the university has imposed as sanctions in past investigations.

The UI Department of Public Safety is the office on campus that is responsible for coordinating Clery Act compliance and has the capability to immediately send communications campus-wide. Crime alerts are a requirement of the Clery Act. In an effort to respect a victim’s right to not report to law enforcement, a police investigation is typically not initiated without the consent of the victim.

The majority of crimes that occur on and around campus will NOT result in a crime alert or Hawk Alert. These safety messages are only sent for Clery crimes (described above) that occur in our Clery geography and present a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. Generally, these notifications will not be sent if the perpetrator of the crime is immediately arrested and detained, or law enforcement has reason to believe a crime was an isolated incident that poses no continued threat to the campus community. Emergency incidents that occur in the City of Iowa City may result in a Hawk Alert if there is a specifically identifiable threat to campus.

When the Assistant Vice President and Director of the UI Department of Public Safety (or designee) receives a report of a crime, it is reviewed to determine if there is a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. If the crime meets that criteria, but does not rise to the level of a campus emergency, a crime alert will be sent to all UI students and employees.

Crime alerts are typically issued for the following Uniform Crime Reporting  Program (UCR)/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) crime classifications:

  • Murder/non-negligent manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault (cases involving assaults among known parties, such as two roommates fighting which results in an aggravated injury, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if the individual is believed to be an ongoing threat to the larger University community).
  • Robbery involving force or violence (cases  including  pick pocketing and purse snatching will typically not result in the issuance of a Timely Warning Notice, but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis).
  • Rape and fondling are considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts of the case, when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount of information known by the public safety director. In cases involving sexual assault,  they are often reported long after the incident occurred, thus there is no ability to distribute a “timely” warning notice to the community. All cases of sexual assault, including stranger and non-stranger/acquaintance cases, will be assessed for potential issuance of a crime alert.
  • Major incidents of arson
  • Other Clery Act crimes as determined necessary by the director of public safety, or designee, in their absence.

The director (or designee) will develop the crime alert and send it to university students and employees by mass email, using their university email address, with the pertinent facts and details of the crime known to  the UI Department of Public Safety and, if relevant, any suspect information and suggestions for protective measures a person could take.

The Clery Act requires the names of victims be withheld as confidential from the crime alert. The decision to issue a crime alert will be decided on a case by case basis in light of all the facts surrounding a crime, including factors such as the amount of information known by the UI Department of Public Safety, the nature of the crime, the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts, and whether there is a continuing danger to the campus community.

To learn more about crime in your area and/or on campus, we encourage you to read the Campus Safety and Security Report and review the daily crime log. You can also review previous crime alerts on this page of the UI DPS website, and previous Hawk Alerts and their resolution on the university’s emergency website.

You can sign up for information and updates from the City of Iowa City and the Iowa City Police Department on the City of Iowa City website.

Safety Resources

The only person responsible for a crime is the perpetrator. The University of Iowa Department of Public Safety is providing the following safety tips and risk reduction strategies in an effort to assist the university community with taking the necessary precautions.

General

  • Strongly consider using campus safety services such as Nite Ride (free, late-night transportation service) and Rave Guardian (which allows you to request a guardian to monitor your walk by GPS). 
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking during the late night and early morning hours.
  • If you believe you are being followed, quickly run/walk toward other people or enter an establishment and immediately call 911.
  • Never risk injury for material items. Give them up immediately if you are threatened with physical harm.
  • You are under no obligation to communicate with strangers; don’t be concerned with appearing rude if you feel vulnerable.
  • Keep your door locked at all times, even if you are only leaving for a short time or sleeping.
  • As a bystander: If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events. Being an active bystander doesn’t require that you put yourself at risk. Call 911, and, if practical, attempt to record pertinent information (description of the offender, distinguishing features, location and direction of travel etc.) 
  • Report any suspicious activity to police immediately, by calling 911.

Sexual Assault

Consensual sex occurs when both partners agree to engage in sexual activity. Consent must always be knowing and voluntary, and clear permission by word or clear unambiguous action to engage in sexual activity. Learn more about the UI's definition of consent in the Policy on Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

The most common type of sexual assault is not committed by a stranger but by someone known to the victim, typically a date or other acquaintance. If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events. Here are some strategies:

  • Create a distraction and involve others.
  • Make a commitment to ensure everyone has a safe way home.
  • Remember being an active bystander doesn't require you put yourself at risk.
  • Additional information on how to reduce your risk of sexual assault is available from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

Crime Alert Log

Crime alerts published in accordance with the Clery Act
Number Date Type
22-14 11/15/2022 Sexual Assault
22-13 11/3/2022 Burglary\Trespass, Sexual Assault
22-12 11/1/2022 Burglary
22-11 10/11/2022 Burglary
22-10 10/4/2022 Sexual Assault
22-09 9/27/2022 Motor Vehicle Theft
22-08 9/26/2022 Robbery, Sexual Assault
22-07 9/22/2022 Sexual Assault
22-06 9/11/2022 Sexual Assault
22-05 6/2/2022 Other
22-04 4/18/2022 Motor Vehicle Theft
22-03 4/7/2022 Robbery
22-02 3/1/2022 Sexual Assault
22-01 2/22/2022 Sexual Assault
21-16 11/8/2021 Sexual Assault
21-15 10/19/2021 Sexual Assault
21-14 10/15/2021 Sexual Assault
21-13 10/4/2021 Sexual Assault
21-12 9/27/2021 Sexual Assault
21-11 9/25/2021 Sexual Assault
21-10 9/24/2021 Sexual Assault
21-09 9/18/2021 Sexual Assault
21-08 8/30/2021 Sexual Assault
21-07 8/28/2021 Sexual Assault
21-06 8/20/2021 Sexual Assault
21-05 7/10/2021 Sexual Assault
21-04 4/26/2021 Sexual Assault
21-03 3/8/2021 Sexual Assault
21-02 3/4/2021 Burglary
21-01 2/9/2021 Sexual Assault
20-08 10/1/2020 Sexual Assault
20-07 9/29/2020 Sexual Assault
20-06 9/16/2020 Sexual Assault
20-05 9/11/2020 Sexual Assault
20-04 4/14/2020 Sexual Assault
20-03 2/26/2020 Sexual Assault
20-02 2/16/2020 Sexual Assault
20-01 1/25/2020 Sexual Assault
19-05 12/7/2019 Sexual Assault
19-04 8/24/2019 Trespassing
19-03 4/8/2019 Robbery
19-02 3/6/2019 Burglary
19-01 2/16/2019 Sexual Assault
18-07 12/6/2018 Sexual Assault
18-06 11/14/2018 Sexual Assault
18-05 10/9/2018 Sexual Assault
18-04 9/7/2018 Sexual Assault
18-03 9/6/2018 Sexual Assault
18-02 4/12/2018 Burglary
18-01 3/5/2018 Sexual Assault
17-17 11/9/2017 Sexual Assault
17-16 10/29/2017 Sexual Assault
17-15 10/23/2017 Trespassing
17-14 10/23/2017 Robbery
17-13 9/30/2017 Robbery
17-12 9/23/2017 Sexual Assault
17-11 9/18/2017 Sexual Assault
17-10 8/26/2017 Sexual Assault
17-09 8/26/2017 Sexual Assault
17-08 7/17/2017 Aggravated Assault
17-07 5/1/2017 Robbery
17-06 4/24/2017 Sexual Assault
17-05 3/7/2017 Sexual Assault
17-04 2/21/2017 Sexual Assault
17-03 2/1/2017 Robbery
17-02 1/23/2017 Sexual Assault
17-01 1/22/2017 Sexual Assault
16-17 12/5/2016 Sexual Assault
16-16 11/30/2016 Aggravated Assault
16-15 11/14/2016 Burglary
16-14 11/10/2016 Burglary
16-13 11/9/2016 Vandalism - Hate Crime
16-12 10/30/2016 Sexual Assault
16-11 10/15/2016 Sexual Assault
16-10 10/2/2016 Sexual Assault
16-09 9/28/2016 Sexual Assault
16-08 5/4/2016 Aggravated Assault - Hate Crime
16-07 4/22/2016 Sexual Assault
16-06 4/1/2016 Sexual Assault
16-05 3/21/2016 Sexual Assault
16-04 2/16/2016 Burglary\Trespass
16-03 2/16/2016 Sexual Assault
16-02 2/1/2016 Sexual Assault
16-01 1/29/2016 Sexual Assault