37.7 percent of campus crimes involve violence

Kevin Gareau

Of all crimes reported at schools, colleges and universities from 2000 to 2004, 37.7 percent were violent, according to an FBI press release. But Kent State Police Chief John Peach said the numbers seem a little high.

“I find it hard to believe that 37 percent of crimes on campus are violent,” Peach said. “That’s not true of any college or university I know of. That’s worse than Harlem.”

The statistics made available in the Nov. 1 press release were part of an FBI study using the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which collects data on arrests nationwide.

Peach said the statistics are probably inflated because the study included grade schools and high schools.

“There are more of them than colleges and universities,” Peach said. “Incidents in secondary schools are not generally classified as crimes by those schools, and thus not referred to the police unless they involve violence. If they do involve violence or weapons, almost without exception, they are reported to the police.”

Interesting statistics found in the report:

• In crimes committed at schools, males accounted for 76 percent of offenders for whom gender was known.

• White offenders accounted for 71 percent of the total offenders for whom race was known; black offenders, 27 percent; and all other races combined, 1.6 percent.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation study “Crime in Schools and Colleges: A Study of Offenders and Arrestees Reported via National Incident-Based Reporting System Data”

Another finding presented in the study is that 96 percent of all arrests made for crimes against other people were for assault.

Peach said that statistic does not sound accurate for colleges and universities.

“There’s no way that’s true at Kent State,” Peach said. “While it’s true that crimes against other people are the most common, I can’t buy 96 percent of those arrests being assaults.”

He added categories for FBI crimes are often different than typical crimes on campus.

“They typically emphasize reporting major crimes,” Peach said. “Crimes such as petty theft and other minor crimes don’t always make it into statistics.”

One statistic Peach did agree with was that personal weapons such as hands, fists and feet were used in 74 percent of all crimes involving weapons.

“People who get in altercations on campus typically don’t have weapons,” Peach said. “You get a lot of fights between roommates and people who have had too much to drink.”

Contact safety reporter Kevin Gareau at [email protected]