Crime Data and Analysis

Violent Crime Rates, 2000-02
Rate per 10,000 students enrolled

                 Institution  Offenses
 Crime Rate
 Harvard University (unadjusted)     215.       86.5
 University of Pennsylvania     149.       64.1
 Harvard, adjusted (note 1)     122.       49.1
 Yale University       48.       41.8
 MIT       41.       39.2
 University of Chicago       50.       35.6
 Columbia University       72.       33.8

Violent Crime =
   Murder* + Forcible Sex Offenses† + Robbery + Aggravated Assault‡

Years included:
   2000 + 2001 + 2002

Geographic Areas included**:
   On-Campus + Non-Campus + ( Public-Property / 2 )

Violent Crime Rate
   = ( Criminal Offenses Reported ) / [ ( Students Enrolled ) / 10,000 ]

* “Murder” includes non-negligent manslaughter.  No institution reported more than a single incident during 2000-02.

† All forcible sex offenses reported as having taken place within an on-campus residence hall are excluded on account of the gross differences in reporting rates by universities having different victim-support policies.

‡ “Aggravated assault” typically indicates use of a weapon.

** The number of criminal offenses reported as having taken place on public property within or immediately adjacent to a university’s campus is divided by 2, on the arbitrary presumption that half of the victims of violent crime in such areas are nonstudents.

Note 1. The number of criminal offenses reported as having taken place on public property within or immediately adjacent to Harvard University’s campuses is divided by 4 rather than by 2.  A comparatively larger discounting factor is necessary in order to make allowance for the HUPD’s comparative overreporting of off-campus crime.  More information about this factor is presented by Steven Catalano, interview, Harvard Crimson 26 Mar. 2004, at 1.

Number of students enrolled—
Penn: 23,240.  Harvard: 24,850.  Yale: 11,470.  MIT: 10,340.  Chicago: 13,890.  Columbia (including Teachers Coll.): 26,350.

Statistical data source: Office of Postsecondary Educ., U.S. Dept. of Educ., “Criminal Offenses,” OPE Campus Security Statistics, Nov. 2003.

The 2000-02 data reports of Harvard University and of Teachers College at Columbia University have recently been replaced by their 2001-03 data reports.  Harvard’s 2000-02 report appears at Harvard Univ. Police Dept., Playing It Safe: A Guide for Keeping Safe at Harvard 38-39 (2003 ed., Nov. 18, 2003).
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The crime data that each school provides to the Department of Education can be used to make valid risk comparisons.  Office of Postsecondary Educ., above.  The schools must have similar institutional characteristics, as they do in the case of Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Penn, and Yale:

      type of institution  =  private 4-year university
      percent of students in campus housing  =  25% or more
      metropolitan status  =  large city
      institutional size (enrollment)  =  10,000 or more students

The most significant institutional characteristics for campus crime comparisons are discussed in a Statistical Analysis Report published by the National Center for Education Statistics (Inst. of Educ. Scis., U.S. Dept. of Educ., Campus Crime and Security at Postsecondary Education Institutions 5-8 (1997).  The NCES “is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education.”

In its annual compilation of criminal offenses, every university is required by the U.S. Department of Education to include the number of criminal offenses reported in a geographically limited public property area, specifically: “all public property, including thoroughfares, streets, sidewalks, and parking facilities, that is within the campus, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus” (emphasis added).  Source: Office of Postsecondary Educ., “Public Property,” Glossary (2003).

Published by the Student-Alumni Committee on Institutional Security Policy.
Last updated 09/24/2004.  Permissions.