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College crime

Question:
What information do you have on college crime?

Response:

In 2017, a total of 28,900 criminal incidents against persons and property on campuses of postsecondary institutions were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 2 percent increase from 2016, when 28,400 criminal incidents were reported. The number of on-campus crimes reported per 10,000 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students1 also increased by 2 percent, from 19.3 in 2016 to 19.6 in 2017.

Among the various types of on-campus crimes reported in 2017, there were 11,100 burglaries,2 which constituted 38 percent of all criminal incidents. Other commonly reported crimes included forcible sex offenses (10,400 incidents, or 36 percent of crimes) and motor vehicle thefts (3,500 incidents, or 12 percent of crimes). In addition, 2,200 aggravated assaults and 1,000 robberies3 were reported. These estimates translate to 7.5 burglaries, 7.1 forcible sex offenses, 2.3 motor vehicle thefts, 1.5 aggravated assaults, and 0.7 robberies per 10,000 FTE students.


Number of on-campus crimes reported and number per 10,000 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by selected type of crime: 2001 through 2017

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

1 Includes other reported crimes not separately shown.
2 Unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.
3 Theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.
4 Any sexual act directed against another person forcibly and/or against that person's will.

NOTE: Data are for degree-granting institutions, which are institutions that grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Some institutions that report Clery Act data—specifically, non-degree-granting institutions and institutions outside of the 50 states and the District of Columbia—are excluded from this figure. Crimes include incidents involving students, staff, and on-campus guests. Excludes off-campus crimes even if they involve college students or staff. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (NCES 2020-063), Figure 21.1.


Between 2001 and 2017, the overall number of reported on-campus crimes decreased by 31 percent. During this period, the number of reported on-campus crimes increased by 7 percent between 2001 and 2006 (from 41,600 to 44,500), decreased by 40 percent between 2006 and 2014 (from 44,500 to 26,800), and finally increased by 8 percent between 2014 and 2017 (from 26,800 to 28,900). This recent increase was driven primarily by the increase in the number of reported forcible sex offenses. The number of on-campus crimes reported in 2017 was lower than the number reported in 2001 for every category except forcible sex offenses, murder, and negligent manslaughter.4 The number of reported forcible sex offenses on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 10,400 in 2017 (a 372 percent increase). More recently, the number of reported forcible sex offenses increased by 16 percent between 2016 and 2017 (from 8,900 to 10,400).

In 2017, of the criminal incidents on the campuses of postsecondary institutions that were reported to police and security agencies, 958 incidents were classified as hate crimes. The three most common types of hate crimes reported by institutions were destruction, damage, and vandalism (437 incidents; hereafter referred to as “vandalism” in this Fast Fact), intimidation (385 incidents), and simple assault (83 incidents). Other reported hate crimes included larceny (24 incidents), aggravated assault (15 incidents), forcible sex offenses (6 incidents), burglary (3 incidents), and robbery (2 incidents), as well as murder, motor vehicle theft, and arson (1 incident each). No nonforcible sex offenses were classified as hate crimes in 2017.

1The base of 10,000 FTE students includes students who are enrolled exclusively in distance learning courses and who may not be physically present on campus.
2Unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.
3Taking or attempting to take anything of value using actual or threatened force or violence.
4Twenty-one murder and 3 negligent manslaughter offenses were reported in 2017, compared with 17 murder and 2 negligent manslaughter offenses in 2001.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (NCES 2020-063), Indicator 21 and Indicator 22.

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