Campus Crime 2015: Top 10 Highest Reported Crime Rates for Large Colleges

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Student safety is a high priority for all colleges and universities. While colleges and universities are typically safer than the areas that surround them, many schools face important and unique challenges. Law Street’s Campus Crime Rankings were created to serve as a comprehensive look at the safety of our college campuses, and to act as a resource for students, families, and college communities.

Federal law requires all postsecondary institutions that receive federal financial aid to report and monitor criminal offenses on their campuses. Each year this self-reported data is published by the Department of Education to help colleges and their communities understand the safety challenges that they face. Law Street Campus Crime Rankings utilize the most recent three years of this data to determine the average violent crime rate per 1,000 students for each school with available statistics.

Our rankings break up schools into different categories to ensure that the comparisons are as helpful and fair as possible. This list ranks large schools, which include four-year institutions with enrollments greater than 20,000 students.

Click here to see the data used to create these rankings.

Check out the Top 10 Highest Crime Rates on Large Campuses below.

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#6 Highest Crime Rate: Pennsylvania State University

Image courtesy of Penn State via Flickr

Image courtesy of Penn State via Flickr

Pennsylvania State University is a public institution located in State College, Pennsylvania. Forcible sex offenses are the biggest contributor to the school’s violent crime rate, making up over 70 percent of all reported violent crimes. The school reported a record 56 sex offenses in 2012, of which 36 actually occurred earlier. Some of the cases reported that year were also connected to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. In an email to Law Street, Lisa Powers, a spokesperson for the university said:

Following the Sandusky scandal, our crime statistics have been skewed because of the year in which his crimes were reported and the follow-up years in which other incidents from decades ago have been reported. As you know, Clery data is added in the year it is reported (not necessarily in the year it occurred).

After the Sandusky scandal and a corresponding increase in reported offenses, the Department of Education initiated an investigation into how the school deals with sexual assault cases. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights initiated the investigation in January 2014. Earlier this year, the president of the university announced a number of reforms that would be made to combat sexual assault, including hiring a new Title IX Coordinator and setting up an office to address sexual misconduct. The Title IX coordinator and an advisory committee will come up with policy recommendations, which the school plans to implement within a year. The University Police force deploys over 50 sworn officers with full arrest powers who deal with crime on campus. The student affairs website discusses sexual assault in detail as well as the services available for rape survivors.

Fall 2013 Enrollment: 46,615 (40,085 undergraduate)
Average Violent Crime Rate: 1.16 per 1,000 students
Murder: 0
Forcible Sex Offense: 119
Robbery: 4
Aggravated Assault: 39
Campus Setting: City (Small)

-Campus crime statistics are three-year totals from 2011, 2012, and 2013
-The average violent crime rate is an average of the three-year data shown as a rate per 1,000 students

Click here to see the methodology used for the rankings.

Research and analysis done by Law Street’s Crime in America team:
Kevin Rizzo, Kwame Apea, Jennie Burger, Alissa Gutierrez, and Maurin Mwombela.

Kevin Rizzo
Kevin Rizzo is the Crime in America Editor at Law Street Media. An Ohio Native, the George Washington University graduate is a founding member of the company. Contact Kevin at



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