Fall classes are ramping up and parents have sent their babies to learn, grow, explore, and experience some of the best four years of their lives. Though, as a parent, sending your child off to school can be rather nerve-wracking.
For many 18-year-olds, college is the first time they’ve been on their own, meaning that mistakes get made and moral compasses aren’t always pointing due north. So college campuses can be sources of a range of crimes from petty theft to possession of drugs to events that are more violent.
According to the FBI’s most recent campus attacks study, from 2005 through 2008, there were:
- 174 instances of murder/non-negligent man slaughter
- 13,842 forcible sex offenses
- 19,900 robberies
- 21,675 cases of aggravated assault
- 137,785 burglaries
These crimes only account for institutions in accordance with the Clery Act – a law that requires colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to track and disclose statistics of various types of crimes that occur on or near the campuses.
HomeInsurance.com recently launched research to determine which college campuses are the safest to stroll through – hence we decided to consider the walkability rating of each campus – and reside in. Here are our findings:
1. Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg
This satellite PSU campus tops our list due to zero instances of violent crimes and few instances of property crimes in 2013 along with a walk score of 71. Penn State–Harrisburg – AKA the Capital College – has 4,376 students and is one of 24 Pennsylvania State University campuses throughout the state.
2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
UW–La Crosse was ranked the top comprehensive university in the University of Wisconsin System in 2014 for the 14th consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report. The institution claims the position of second on our list due to zero occurrences of violent crimes and few property crimes in 2013 along with a walk score of 52. UW–L spans 119 acres of fields and landscaping, making students feel as though their walks to classes are through one big park.
3. Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA
Bristol Community College earned its place due to a violent crime score of zero and few property crimes in 2013, along with a walk score of 64. The two-year institution spans 65 acrest.
4. Morton College, Cicero, IL
Morton College – founded in 1924 – is the second oldest community college in the state. Construction began on the college’s current location in 1973. There were no instances of violent crimes on campus in 2013.
5. Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
Stevens Institute of Technology is a private research university and rounds out the top five due to zero instances of violent crimes and a walk score of 95 – one of the highest on the list. It was founded in 1870 – making it one of the oldest technological colleges in the country.
6. Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke VA
Virginia Western Community College is situated among 70 acres of Roanoke, VA, and joined the safest college cities list thanks to zero instances of violent crimes, few occurrences of property crimes, and a walk score of 41. It is one of the largest community colleges throughout the statet.
7. Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria, CA
Allan Hancock College is rated among California’s five best community colleges. made the list due to zero instances of violent crimes and a walk score of 48.
8. Pennsylvania State University – Greater Allegheny
With a walk score of 39 along with zero violent crime and just five property crime occurrences, Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport sealed the No. 8 slot. Students are able to participate in clubs such as drama or psychology and in intramural sports such as flag football.
9. Texas A&M University-Galveston
This ocean-side satellite location of Texas A&M University offers majors that are distinctly related to the ocean such as marine biology and marine engineering. TAMUG scored the No. 9 spot due to a walk score of 45 and zero violent crime incidents in 2013.
10. Notre Dame College of Ohio
Notre Dame College of Ohio’s walk score of 42, few instances of property crimes, and zero instances of violent crimes are to thank for it rounding out the top 10 safest college cities. The South Euclid institution was established in 1922 as a women’s college and expanded to be coeducational in 2001t.
11. North Lake College, Irving, TX
North Lake College opened its doors in 1977 and specializes in degrees in the arts, sciences, and logistics technology. North Lake College earned its position due to low occurrences of property crimes, zero violent crimes, and a walk score of 42.
12. Indiana University Southeast
With just eight instances of property crimes and zero instances of violent crimes in 2013, along with a walk score of 37, Indiana University Southeast scored highly in our research. The institution specializes in business, education, and nursing degrees at the New Albany campus.
13. Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO
Red Rocks Community College has a mountain view and offers more than 650 classes in more than 150 subject areas. It joins the list due to no instances of violent crimes and few instances of property crimes in 2013.
14. Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, CO
A walk score of 37 paired with only nine instances of property crimes and no occurrences of violent crimes in 2013 pushed Arapahoe Community College up to the No. 14 slot. The college was founded in 1965.
15. New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL
The New College of Florida was founded in 1960 as a private institution. In the years since, it has morphed into an autonomous honors college of the State University System of Florida. The college recorded zero violent crime incidents in 2013.
16. Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, MD
With just one instance of violent crime and a low number of incidents of property crimes in 2013, coupled with a walk score of 51 under its belt, Hagerstown Community College snagged a high rating. The college was founded in 1946t.
17. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
UW-Green Bay was founded in 1965 and originally intended to focus on environmental sustainability. Today, the university has expanded its curriculum to include a wide range of degrees that are ‘problem-focused,’ earning it the nickname ‘Eco U.’ It also recorded zero incidents of violent crimes and few incidents of property crimes.
18. Brookhaven College, Farmers Branch, TX
A walk score of 39 and zero incidents of violent crimes in 2013 are the reasons largely responsible for Brookhaven College earning a spot on the list of safest college cities. Brookhaven College was founded in 1978 and is the newest college in the Dallas County Community College District.
19. University of Michigan-Dearborn
The University of Michigan branch in Dearborn, MI joins the ranks of safest college cities due to just one incident of violent crime in 2013 and a walk score of 55. UM-Dearborn is widely known for its engineering and management programs, though it offers more than 90 majors.
20. Dalton State College, Dalton, GA
Dalton State College opened its doors in 1967 as Dalton Junior College – a two-year institution – and changed its name and expanded to a four-year school in 1998. It had no incidents of violent crimes and just seven occurrences of property crimes in 2013.
21. Harper College, Palatine, IL
Harper College made our list due to zero instances of violent crimes in 2013 and a walk score of 37. The college has an informal architectural layout with buildings constructed in accordance with the natural contours of the campus’s land.
22. North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA
North Shore Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the state, offering more than 80 programs. The college has a walk score of 34 but reported no incidents of violent crimes in 2013.
23. Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL
Due to a walk score of 38 and zero occurrences of violent crimes in 2013, Elgin Community College secured the No. 23 slot. The college was founded in 1949.
24. Oakland Community College, Royal Oak, MI
Oakland Community College, which opened in 1965, is the largest community college in Michigan and one of the largest in the country. The institution had zero instances of violent crimes in 2013 and received a walk score of 50.
25. University of Wisconsin-Superior
The university clinched the last slot on the list due to a walk score of 40 paired with few incidents of property crimes and just one incident of violent crime reported in 2013. It was founded in 1893 – and went by the name Superior Normal School – with the purpose of training teachers. The name was changed to UW-Superior in 1971.
If you don’t attend one of these safest campuses, there’s still some good news: When it comes to college danger, some property crime incidents involving students can be covered by a parent’s home insurance.
That’s especially true for a student living on campus – as long as the student’s primary residence remains his or her parents’ address. Get more information about what’s covered here.
Students who live off-campus should consider investing in renters insurance. It’s not that expensive – premiums averaged about $15 a month, and it can come with other protection in addition to property coverage.
Following are the 50 safest campuses as determined by the HomeInsurance.com study:
To evaluate the safest college campuses in the United States, HomeInsurance.com Analysts reviewed 2013 college crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the most current city Walk Scores created by WalkScore.com.
Analysts looked at more than 400 colleges and universities and assigned each with a score for Violent Crime, Property Crime and Walkability. Colleges were then ranked by their total score. The Violent Crime score encompasses incidents of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Violent crimes represent 45% of the overall score. The Property Crime score encompasses incidents of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Property Crimes represent 35% of the overall score.
Walk Scores were gathered from WalkScore.com and represent 20% of the overall score. In order to gather Walk Scores, analysts assigned each college campus with the city it’s predominantly located in. Walk Scores are for 2015.
Tiebreakers were given to colleges with larger student enrollment in 2013.