A few schools, including Vanderbilt, report separate figures for rape, forcible sodomy, and sexual assault with an object. Because forcible sodomy and sexual assault with an object are defined as rape by the U.S. Department of Justice, Poets&Quants has combined the reported-incident numbers for those crimes into the category of rape.
Reports of most other types of crime dropped at most campuses over the three-year period.
For robbery, 25 universities reported declining incidents, compared to 19 reporting increases and seven with numbers flat. Michigan State saw the most notable increase in reports of robbery, from one in 2011 to two in 2012 to 10 in 2013.
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOWN ON MOST CAMPUSES
Reports for aggravated assault also dropped at 25 campuses, rose at 19, and stayed flat at one. The number tripled at Penn State, from six in 2011 to 19 in 2013, and doubled at U.C. Berkeley, from seven in 2011 to 14 in 2013.
Reported burglaries were down at 34 campuses, and up at only 14, with three campuses reporting flat numbers. Yale saw a near doubling from 28 in 2011 to 52 in 2013. Michigan State also saw a significant increase, from 77 in 2011 to 120 in 2013.
Motor vehicle theft reports rose at a majority of campuses: 26 saw increases, while 20 saw decreases, and five remained flat. Here, too, Michigan State posted dismal numbers, with reports of such thefts skyrocketing from nine in 2011 to 62 in 2013.
The education department collects federally mandated reports from universities and colleges, and tracks nine crimes: murder/non-negligent manslaughter; negligent manslaughter; forcible sex offenses; non-forcible sex offenses; robbery, aggravated assault; burglary, motor vehicle theft; and arson.
Because reports of murder, manslaughter, non-forcible sex crimes (incest and statutory rape), and arson were generally few, Poets&Quants has compiled statistics focused on forcible sex crimes, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.
MORE CRIMES, OR MORE REPORTING?
The data has limitations in describing crime trends, particularly with regard to sex crimes. Since 2012, the issue of campus rape has gained an increasingly higher profile, after Amherst student Angie Epifano sparked the anti-rape-culture movement by publicly discussing her alleged rape and purportedly abysmal response by the university. High profile sex attacks by athletes, and other well-publicized campus sex crimes, pushed the issue higher into the public view, resulting in creation of a White House Task Force in January. Such publicity likely increases the frequency of sex crime reporting, so an increase in reports doesn’t necessarily mean there was an increase in sex attack incidents.
Further clouding the picture are the fact that the vast majority of sex offenses aren’t reported, and the increasingly substantiated reality that campus officials often do a very poor job of documenting and reporting alleged incidents.
TABLE STARTING NEXT PAGE: CRIME ON CAMPUSES OF TOP B-SCHOOLS