The suspect in the June 9 shooting at Auburn University has turned himself in, but aftershocks of the horrific crime will undoubtedly shake the campus for weeks, if not months, to come. Unfortunately, Auburn is hardly the only university in the country that has to deal with crime on campus.
To find America’s 25 Most Crime-Rattled Colleges, The Daily Beast scoured the college crime data made available through the U.S. Department of Education. Universities are required to track and submit publicly available crime statistics thanks to the Jeanne Clery Act. The data represent reported crimes, not prosecutions.
We looked at four-year nonprofit private colleges and four-year public colleges with more than 6,000 total students, taking into account the numbers for each school’s primary campus and auxiliary campuses in the same metro area as the main campus. Our final dataset included more than 500 universities. The crimes we considered were: murder, negligent murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, car theft, and arson. Because not all crimes are the same, we devised a subjective weighting system based on crime severity. Burglary established our low-end baseline for weighting; car theft was weighted twice as much as burglary; assault and robbery, six times as much as burglary; arson and negligent manslaughter, 10 times as much as burglary; and murder, 20 times as much as burglary.
In addition to weighting, we considered each crime against total enrollment, to come up with a per-capita ratio. Finally, each per-capita ratio was compared to the overall cohort of more than 500 schools—to take into account whether each school’s per-capita ratio for each crime was relatively high or low—to determine our final list of America’s Most Crime-Rattled Colleges.