For The Daily Beast’s second-annual ranking of the safest and most dangerous colleges in the U.S., we pored over the three most recent calendar years of campus security and crime data (2006-2008) compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the FBI and the Secret Service, in conjunction with the Clery Act, the federal mandate requiring all schools that receive federal funding to disclose crime information annually. The data reflect incidents reported to campus or local police, not convictions.
Gallery: 50 Safest Colleges
• 50 Most Dangerous Colleges• Big Ten Crime Rankings• Ivy League Crime RankingsSome ground rules: We only ranked colleges with residential facilities, as well as at least 6,000 enrolled students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. We also deferred to the NCES in determining what a “campus” is—for example, it groups the two campuses for Tufts University as single entity, even though they are seven miles apart (Tufts’ Boston campus is the reason it ranked so poorly). This produced a total comparison of 458 schools across the country.
The statistics account for nine types of criminal incidents, which we weighted based on a subjective judgment of violence, asserting that an incident of murder represents a higher level of intrinsic threat to public safety than a robbery. Burglary carried the lowest value, with car theft weighed twice as much, assault or robbery six times, arson 10 times, negligent manslaughter 20 times and murder 40 times. All totals were then divided by the number of enrolled students, so that midsize and large campuses could be accurately compared.