KSU reports less crime than comparable schools


Graphic by Allison Struck

Amanda Crumm

Illegal drug and alcohol use continue to be some of Kent State’s most significant violations, according to the university’s annual safety report. The number of students arrested for liquor law violations has dropped during the past two years, but more students have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct for alcohol-related citations.

“Police Services was more heavily involved in enforcement in the residence halls in prior years,” said Kent State Lt. Bill Buckbee.

Several crime numbers at comparable Ohio universities have increased. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of sex offenses at The Ohio State University more than doubled, and arson at Bowling Green State University increased from two incidents to 13.

Each year, the Clery Act requires universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, and a single violation can cost about $30,000 or suspension from receiving financial aid.

The Kent State Police Department is one of 62 U.S. college and university police departments to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a program that recognizes excellent law enforcement agencies. Kent State was the second university police department to receive this award.

“This is a very safe campus — I can say that easily because my own son goes here,” Buckbee said. “But having said that, there’s no place that is immune from crime. Any crime can happen anywhere. We’re always working toward creating an environment that makes it less likely that serious crimes will happen here.”

Effect on admissions

Buckbee said he wished more students paid closer attention to university crime statistics before choosing a school.

“A lot of people don’t think about crime until they become a victim of a crime,” he said.

Safety is not a top priority for many students who apply to Kent State, said Mark Ledoux, associate director of admissions.

“People are concerned about safety, but it’s typically not the top concern,” he said, adding that the most common inquiries are about academics, extracurricular activities and residence halls. “[Campus safety] is typically more of a concern for parents.”

When safety concerns do arise, Ledoux said he educates students and parents about Kent State’s various police services — such as campus security aides who monitor residence halls. He also shares the university’s annual crime statistics.

“I think everybody has different things that are important to them in terms of what they’re looking for in a school,” Ledoux said. “And I think when people come to our campus, I think they feel comfortable here.”

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected]