Violent crime is on the rise; news reports of callous acts bombard the headlines every day, and while street crime is increasing, crime on college campuses is also making its way in numbers.
Murder, non-negligent manslaughter, larceny-theft, arson, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are all considered violent crimes, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and have found their place of prevalence on some campuses today. Many studies have been done to monitor the amount of crime that occurs on a campus in comparison to crime committed upon individuals of the same age (18-24) off-campus. This research has consistently found that violence on college campuses has remained at a lower rate than violence committed off-campus, which means campuses are safer, but it does not mean colleges are impervious to crime.
A study done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics released in 2003, estimated that of the 7.7 million students ages 18-24 enrolled in college, an average of 526,000 students were victims of a violent crime. However, 492,000 of those victims experienced either rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault off campus, leaving 34,000 on-campus victims, which is significantly smaller, but unfortunately, that number doesn’t represent just a simple figure, it represents people whose lives were severely damaged by the violent act committed against them.
Other statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that “female students were about half as likely as were male college students to be victims of violent crime—an annual average of 47 violent crime per 1,000 female students vs. 91 violent crimes per 1,000 male students.” (Hart) It also showed that in almost half of college student victimization, the offender was discernibly under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and only 34 percent of on-campus crime was reported to the police. “Student victims who did not report the crime they experienced to the police said it was because they considered the violence a private or personal matter.”(Hart)
Unfortunately, no one can control the mind of a criminal looking for someone to victimize, but students can adapt ways in their daily living that can help prevent them from becoming a victim of a violent crime:
1. Awareness: When it comes to violent crime, ignorance is not bliss. Being aware of alert levels, exits, environments, suspicious people, abnormal behavior in a peer, and the typical patterns of a criminal can help you be on your toes in prevention. There are warning signs for potential violent action by an individual on or off the college campus:
2. Safety Around Campus
3. Dorm Safety
It is true that violent crimes are more common on some campuses than on others, and most schools that receive public funding are required to publish crime statistics for their school. To aid in the awareness of on-campus violent crime, StateUniversity.com has recently published a new crime and safety ranking system, ranking the top 450 universities rated highest in safety. These rankings are not interdependent upon the school’s academic quality, but instead are affected by the amount of crime reported for each school in the listing.
“Safety ratings are determined based on the number of occurrences of aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft/larceny, motor vehicle theft, forcible rape, and murder on campus. Violent crime is given more weight in the ranking system and has a greater effect on the safety rating than non-violent crime such as theft.” (read the full press release at Yahoo! Finance).
If you have been witness to or a victim of a violent crime, the most important thing that you can do is report it. Tools that aid in the advancement of reporting these on-campus crimes are crucial in the efforts of crime prevention. In the end, these devices will shape a safer campus environment for students and faculty alike.