If you are the parent of a high school graduate who has recently headed off to college for the first time, you may experience an equal measure of pride and worry. Of course, you are proud and happy that your child has reached this milestone and has decided to advance his or her education. Nevertheless, you may worry that you will not be on campus to protect and guide your child, fearing that he or she may become the victim of a crime, or perhaps, the perpetrator.
A 2015 survey by the Department of Education demonstrated that Pennsylvania ranked in the top five for the most campus crimes committed in the United States. Specifically, Pennsylvania was fourth behind Texas, New York and California. While such a statistic may sound alarming to you, you should take the following factors into consideration:
- The survey did not differentiate between major crimes and minor crimes.
In other words, violent crimes and property crimes had equal weight. Incidentally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the most common crime to take place on college campuses was burglary as of 2016.
- The survey initially counted crime reports alone, without adjusting for the number of students in each state.
Pennsylvania’s ranking dropped from fourth to 14th following that adjustment.
- There is a mix of suburban and urban schools in the state.
Generally, suburban schools tend to have less crime than urban schools. This pattern held true in Pennsylvania as well.
- Pennsylvania schools may be more proactive in reporting crime.
The flaw in the survey is that it only counted crime reports. The actual number of crimes committed at colleges in other states could, in fact, be much higher due to some crimes going unreported. However, in the wake of recent controversies, Pennsylvania school officials may be more willing to act when it comes to reporting and tracking crime on campus.
While you may still have concerns about what may happen to your child at college, these factors hopefully put the incidence of crime on Pennsylvania campuses into perspective.