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Top Campus Safety Statistics You Should Know

For campus safety managers the current era represents unprecedented risks ranging from severe weather emergencies to active assailants. This year, students, teachers, and staff may have new concerns about their safety on campus. With recent events, such as Hurricane Florence, which required evacuations on multiple campuses North and South Carolina, and the rise in rates of gun-violence in communities across the United States, it’s understandable that college and university students are worried. For campus safety teams, statistics can provide a realistic understanding of the challenges and risks a college and university campus may face, and there may be a few key ones to take a look at. 

Having access to accurate campus safety statistics today is largely due to The Clery Act, which was established back in 1990. According to the Clery Center, the Clery Act aims to provide transparency around both campus crime policy and statistics. The policy requires colleges and universities that receive federal funding to distribute a public annual security report to employees and students every year. The report must include crime statistics from the last 3 calendar years, as well as the college or universities' proven efforts to improve campus safety. In order to comply, campus policy statements in regards to crime reporting, campus facility security and access, law enforcement authority, alcohol and drug use, and the prevention of or response to sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, and stalking all must be disclosed. 

In order to comply with Clery reporting, institutions must include four distinct categories of crime reporting. These include criminal offenses, such as robbery, arson, theft, physical and sexual assault; VAWA offenses, such as dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; hate crimes such as theft, simple assault, or destruction and damage of property, as well as arrests or referrals for disciplinary action, which includes drug or alcohol-related offenses. By outlining reporting measures for college and university officials, students, parents, faculty, as well as prospective students are able to better understand safety outlooks. 

Related Blog: Emergency Alert System Tips to Comply with Clery Act Requirements

Students, faculty, and staff all benefit from the Clery Act as they're easily able to access reliable campus safety statistics. These numbers are extremely valuable for evaluating campus safety issues across the United States. 

Here Are The Campus Safety Statistics To Know

College Crime

  • Crime rates on college and university campuses across the United States have declined over the past decade, mirroring crime statistics 
  • In 2016, a total of 28,400 criminal incidents against persons and property on campuses at postsecondary institutions were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 3 percent increase from 2015, when 27,600 criminal incidents were reported, according to the National Center For Education Statistics
  • Between 2001 and 2016, the overall number of reported on-campus crimes decreased by 32 percent, as per the NCES

The Role of Campus Law Enforcement 

  • Among 4-year academic institutions with 2,500 students or more, 75% employ armed officers, a 10% increase in the last decade.
  • 86% of sworn campus law enforcement officials have legal authority to make an arrest outside of the campus grounds 
  • 70% of campus law enforcement agencies have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with local law enforcement

College Campus Shooting Statistics 

  • During 2011-2015, shootings on college and university campuses doubled versus the previous next five school years , increasing to 101 incidents—a 153% increase compared to the 2001-02 to 2005-06 school years, according to a study conducted by the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City
  • In the 190 shooting incidents between the 2001-02 and 2015-16 school years,
    437 people were shot, including 167 killed and 270 wounded. The victims included
    290 students, 77 individuals not associated with the college, 40 employees, and
    five former students
  • Twelve states experienced more than five shooting incidents on or near college campus—accounting for 64% of the 190 shooting incidents. The highest number of incidents occurred on or near campuses in Tennessee, California,, Virginia , Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida 

Title IX Policy 

  • 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students), as per RAINN
  • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation 
  • Instances of sexual assault on campus often go unreported due to fear of retaliation. Only 20% of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement. 

Campus Technology Statistics

  • 89% of respondents to the Campus Safety Magazine 2019 Video Surveillance Survey say their organizations plan on or are considering purchasing or upgrading their video surveillance technology in the next three years
  • More than 75% of the Campus Safety Magazine 2019 Access Control & Lockdown Survey participants have interest in purchasing locks, door hardware and/or biometric access control systems.
  • This summer’s Campus Safety Magazine Emergency Notification Survey showed consistently increasing demand in emergency notification solutions.

Leveraging Technology To Improve Campus Safety

Campus safety data can help emergency managers develop a big-picture understanding of safety challenges. It's important to evaluate how your individual college and university fits into these, and determine which tools might best address the unique challenges your university faces. After evaluating campus safety statistics, safety managers can create a safety plan in order to manage and mitigate risks. Technology provides a way to address a variety of security concerns, from preventing or mitigating the damage during an active assailant.

For students, campus safety statistics may cause anxiety, and access to safety technology can provide an extra layer of safety. A campus safety app can be a powerful tool for addressing a variety of security concerns. Students traveling across campus at can use the app to set a virtual escort. If they don't arrive at their set destination within the expected time, campus safety teams or local law enforcement will be notified.The app also allows students to connect directly with campus safety teams or local law enforcement. In addition to providing a direct connection to help, the app provides location data to further speed up first response.  

It also provides a content portal and directory of resources - if a student, faculty, or staff member is unsure how to seek help in a crisis, this information can be found within the app interface. The app can offer emergency procedures, travel documents, addresses for facilities on campus, and other key resources. A call directory will also be available to students - for example, if a student is having a mental health emergency or has a Title IX concern, they will be able to identify the appropriate contact information for these campus safety resources. 

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Mary Kate McGrath
Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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