Lehigh University Police Department
Finance & Administration

Clery Act Timely Warnings and Emergency Notifications

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The Lehigh University HawkWatch notification system exists to provide a fast and effective means of communicating to the campus community. The system is used to send three types of communications: Timely Warnings and Emergency Notifications, as required by the Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act, and Safety Bulletins, which may include information about an incident and resources available on campus. The Clery Act requires federally funded universities to share information about campus crime and safety and requires issuing alerts for certain incidents that happen on campus or on campus associated property.

Timely Warnings

Timely Warnings are issued when certain crimes are reported that occurred on Lehigh associated property and within Clery Act geography that are considered a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. In addition to warning community members, these alerts can aid in crime prevention. The decision to issue a Timely Warning is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts surrounding the Clery Act crime, including, but not limited to such factors as: the nature of the crime, the serious or continuing threat to the campus community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts.

Clery Act Crime Definitions 

Timely Warnings can be sent to all students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways which include text messages, push notifications, emails, deskstop computer takeovers, digital information boards, voice mails and classroom announcement systems. The Timely Warning will also be posted on the HawkWatch Alert Log. Alternative methods for distributing media releases can include campus newspaper or flyers posted in University Buildings.

When Bethlehem Police Department notifies the Lehigh University Police Department of an off-campus crime that represents an ongoing threat to the safety of the Lehigh University Community, the Lehigh University Police Department will issue a Timely Warning.

Information which may be contained in a Timely Warning includes:
  • A succinct description of the incident and type of crime including location, date and time of occurrence;

  • A physical description of the suspect including gender, age, height, weight, hair color, etc., and race if available and accompanied by other descriptive characteristics;

  • A composite drawing of the suspect or photograph if available;

  • A description to an apparent connection to previous incidents if applicable;

  • Race of the victim, but only if there is an apparent bias motive;

  • Sex of the victim, if relevant;

  • Injuries sustained by the victim;

  • Notice to the campus community to use caution and provide safety tips;

  • Other relevant and pertinent information such as weapons involved.

In order to protect the privacy of the victim, Lehigh University Police Department does not release the identity of the reporter to ensure their safety and integrity.

The purpose of the Timely Warning is to ensure the Lehigh University Community has adequate and timely information relating to potential risks in the campus and surrounding community.

Emergency Notifications

An Emergency Notification has a wider focus than Timely Warnings and are issued for any significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus that involves a confirmed immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. Examples of situations that may warrant an Emergency Norification include an active shooter, fires, bomb threat, natural disasters, etc. The purpose of an Emergency Notification is to provide life-saving information and instructions during an active emergency situation.

Emergency Notifications can be sent to all students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways which include text messages, push notifications, emails, deskstop computer takeovers, digital information boards, voice mails and classroom announcement systems. An Emergency Notification will also be posted on the HawkWatch Alert Log

Safety Bulletins

Lehigh University may elect to circulate Safety Bulletins to keep the campus community informed, safe, and alert. Many times, a Safety Bulletin will be issued to inform the community of an incident that does not meet the mandated reporting criteria of a Clery Timely Warning or an Emergency Notification. These bulletins are typically sent via university email only and not through push and text message alerts. Safety Bulletin information could include:

  • When local authorities provide us with information to share with the Lehigh community.

  • There is an institutional need to communicate non-life threatening information to campus, such as a netwok disruption, a cyber-attack, a power outage, etc.

  • Information about a crime that occurred outside of our Clery geography which did not trigger a Timely Warning or Emergency Notification. Many times these communications are meant to inform the community and to provide information about resources available, such as counseling services.

  • A weather-related closure or delay.

Safety Bulletins can be sent to all students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways, but will normally be sent via email only. A Safety Bulletin will also be posted on the HawkWatch Alert Log