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College crime

Question:
What information do you have on college crime?

Response:

In 2018, a total of 28,500 criminal incidents against persons and property on campuses of postsecondary institutions were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 2 percent decrease from 2017, when 29,100 criminal incidents were reported. This translates to 19.5 on-campus crimes reported per 10,000 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students. 1The number of on-campus crimes reported per 10,000 full-time-equivalent students (FTE) also decreased, from 19.9 in 2017 to 19.5 in 2018.

Among the various types of on-campus crimes reported in 2018, there were 12,300 forcible sex offenses, which constituted 43 percent of all criminal incidents. Other reported crimes included burglaries2(9,600 incidents, or 34 percent of crimes) and motor vehicle thefts (3,100 incidents, or 11 percent of crimes). In addition, 2,200 aggravated assaults (8 percent of crimes) and 800 robberies3 (3 percent of crimes) were reported. These estimates translate to 8.4 forcible sex offenses, 6.5 burglaries, 2.1 motor vehicle thefts, 1.5 aggravated assaults, and 0.6 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: 2009 through 2018

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. Data on reported forcible sex offenses have been collected differently since 2014. Beginning in 2014, schools were asked to report the numbers of two different types of forcible sex offenses, rape and fondling, and these were added together to reach the total number of reported forcible sex offenses. In years prior to 2014, schools only reported a total number of reported forcible sex offenses, with no breakouts for specific types of offenses.

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. (2021). Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020 (NCES 2021-092), Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions.


Between 2009 and 2018, the overall number of reported on-campus crimes decreased by 16 percent (from 34,100 to 28,500). Although the general trend was downward during this period, the number of reported on-campus crimes increased by 8 percent between 2014 and 2017 (from 26,800 to 29,100). When examined by the specific type of crime, the number of on-campus crimes reported in 2018 was lower than the number reported in 2009 for most categories except forcible sex offenses, nonforcible sex offenses, and negligent manslaughter. Two negligent manslaughter offenses were reported in 2019, while none were reported in 2009. In both years, 65 nonforcible sex offenses were reported. The number of reported forcible sex offenses on campus increased from 2,500 in 2009 to 12,300 in 2018 (a 383 percent increase). Readers should take note that reporting guidelines for forcible sex offenses changed in 2014,4 which likely contributed to the largest single-year percent increase in that year (36 percent, from 5,000 to 6,800). However, the number of reported forcible sex offenses on campus continued to increase steadily between 2014 and 2018, from 6,800 to 12,300 (an 82 percent increase, or an average increase of about 16 percent per year).

In 2018, of the criminal incidents that occurred on the campuses of postsecondary institutions and were reported to police or security agencies, 814 incidents were classified as hate crimes. The three most common types of hate crimes reported by institutions were destruction, damage, and vandalism (345 incidents), intimidation (337 incidents), and simple assault (75 incidents). Other reported hate crimes included aggravated assault (26 incidents), larceny (13 incidents), forcible sex offenses (8 incidents), burglary (7 incidents), and robbery (3 incidents). There were no reported incidents of arson, motor vehicle theft, murder, or nonforcible sex offenses classified as hate crimes in 2018.

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.
4In years prior to 2014, schools only reported a total number of forcible sex offenses, with no breakouts for specific types of offenses. Beginning in 2014, schools were asked to report the numbers of two different types of forcible sex offenses, rape and fondling, and these were added together to reach the total number of reported forcible sex offenses. For instance, about 6,700 rapes and 5,600 fondling incidents were reported in 2018.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020 (NCES 2021-092), Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions and Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions.

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