Crime Warning Policy

UW-Madison issues Crime Warnings to warn the campus community about certain crimes that present a continuing threat to the community and to aid in the prevention of similar crimes. Known in the Clery Act as a “timely warning,” the intent of a Crime Warning is to warn of a criminal incident so that people will be enabled to protect themselves.

UWPD’s Manager on Call (MOC) or the MOC’s designee has the authority to develop the content of a Crime Warning and authorize distribution using the guidelines listed below. The MOC or designee will consider the type of offense, location, nature of any threat and whether there is a continuing threat to the community or a continuing crime pattern in determining the appropriateness of a Crime Warning. Some information may be withheld if there is a risk of compromising law enforcement efforts to investigate and/or solve the crime. If the victim of the crime is a person, that person will not be identified by name in a Crime Warning. Crime Warnings are issued as soon as the pertinent information is available to the UWPD MOC or designee.

The Clery Act requires UW-Madison to distribute Crime Warnings regarding crimes that occur within UW-Madison’s Clery geography and represent a serious or continuing threat to the safety of students or employees.

Crime Warnings will typically be issued for the following occurrences on campus:

  • Murder or Non Negligent Manslaughter
  • Sex Offenses
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Major Cases of Arson

Other crime categories will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and Crime Warnings will be distributed as deemed necessary.

Cases of Aggravated Assault involving 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 UW–Madison community. Cases of sexual assault will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine whether there is an ongoing threat to the larger UW-Madison community, depending on the facts of the case, when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount information known by UWPD.

The following factors will be considered when determining whether to issue a Crime Warning:

  • Where the crime occurred
  • The nature of the crime (serious/non-serious, violent/non-violent)
  • The nature of the threat (general threat versus limited threat to a specific person)
  • Whether or not there is a continuing danger to the community or continuing crime pattern

NOTE: When issuing a Crime Warning notice, some information may be withheld if there is a possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts to investigate and/or solve the crime.

When UWPD becomes aware of a situation that meets the criteria for a Crime Warning, the Manager On Call (MOC) or designee develops the content of the Crime Warning and has the authority to authorize the distribution of Crime Warning to the community. In the event a Crime Warning is needed, consideration will be given to the most appropriate means to be used to disseminate the information to the UW-Madison community. The primary form of distribution is through a mass email message to the entire university community. This email is sent by the MOC or the MOC’s designee, including, but not limited to, UWPD’s Public Information Officer. Other forms of communication may be utilized, such as UWPD Facebook and UWPD Twitter. In addition, Crime Warning notices may also be shared by postings on wisc.edu, the UWPD homepage, press releases, postings/notices at appropriate locations, or the use of UWPD electronic signboards.

Other Campus Security Authorities learning of an incident in which a Crime Warning might be appropriate will share the information with the UWPD to determine whether the incident meets the criteria for a Crime Warning.

A Crime Warning notice will typically include the following, unless issuing any of this information would risk compromising law enforcement efforts:

  • The date and time or timeframe of the incident;
  • A brief description of the incident;
  • Information that will promote safety and potentially aid in the prevention of similar crimes (crime prevention or safety tips);
  • Suspect description(s) when deemed appropriate and if there is sufficient detail;
  • Police agency contact information; and
  • Other information as deemed appropriate.

UWPD does not issue Crime Warning notice for the above listed crimes if:

  • The MOC or designee determines there is no serious or continuing threat to the safety of UW-Madison students and employees;
  • UWPD apprehends the subject(s) and the threat of imminent danger to members of the UW–Madison community have been mitigated by the apprehension; or
  • A report was not filed with UWPD or if UWPD was not notified of the crime in a manner that would allow the department to post a “timely” warning for the community (e.g. a report that was filed more than 7 days after the date of the alleged incident may not allow UWPD to post a “timely” warning to the community). This type of situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

UWPD will generally not issue crime warnings for crimes occurring beyond the immediate Clery geographical area. The same procedures for determining whether to issue a Clery geography Crime Warning are used for determining whether to issue a non-Clery geography Crime Warning and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.