NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Serious Crime Falls On College Campuses

May 24, 1999

Statistics compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education reveal that murders, robberies and car thefts were down in 1997 -- but arrests for weapons, drugs and alcohol were up.

Some statistical experts warn that schools vary in the way they classify crimes and school-to-school comparisons are suspect. But total figures based on crime reports from 483 U.S. college and university campuses having enrollments of more than 5,000 -- which the publication collects -- do yield a picture of trends.

  • Arrests for drug offenses were up by 7.2 percent for 1997 over 1996.
  • The number of murders on campuses fell from 19 to 13.
  • Non-forcible sex offenses were down by nearly 30 percent, while the number of forcible sex offenses rose by less than 1 percent.
  • Weapons arrests, totaling 951, were up 4.4 percent from the previous year's survey -- in which they had declined by more than 14 percent.

Schools vary in their modes of enforcement. Some use guards while others rely on campus police. Several institutions rely on municipal officers to handle crimes.

Source: Andrea Billups, "Serious Crime on Campuses in Decline," Washington Times, May 24, 1999.


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