Based on Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data, Business Insider listed in its latest edition 25 "most dangerous" colleges in the United States, five of which are in California.
University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) is listed as the most dangerous college in America. The university, with a student population of 38,157, has 49 violent crimes per year, and with 921 property crimes per year. UCLA claimed that the magazine crunched the data.
While crime declined in 2011, things are still terrible: There were 12 forcible rapes; 11 robberies; 17 aggravated assaults; 195 burglaries; 625 larcenies; 18 motor vehicle thefts; and three incidents of arson.
Business Insider said it averaged FBI crime data per capita from 2008 to 2011 for schools with enrollment over 10,000. Schools were ranked based on a combination of the violent crime rank and property crime rank (weighted 4:1). Violent crimes include murder/non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
The other four "most dangerous" colleges in California are University of California-Berkeley, No. 3 on the list; San Diego State University, No. 7 on the list; California State University-Fresno, No. 19 on the list and University of California-Riverside, No. 24.
University of California-Berkeley, with a student population of 35,833, has 38 violent crimes and 915 property crimes per year. Violent crime dropped to 32 incidents in 2011, while property crime spiked to 1,011.
San Diego State University, with a student population of 29,187, has 27 violent crimes and 575 property crimes per year. Violent crimes were relatively low in 2011, with only five forcible rapes, three robberies, and five aggravated assaults.
California State University-Fresno, with a student population of 20,932, has 12 violent crimes and 413 property crimes per year. 2011 was a particularly bad year, with 17 violent crimes and 501 property crimes.
University of California-Riverside, with a student population of 20,692, has 11 violent crimes and 360 property crimes per year. 2011 was a relatively non-violent year, with only one forcible rape, four robberies, and two aggravated assaults.
Other universities listed among the 25 most dangerous colleges are:
New Mexico State University, Duke University, Florida A&M University, Vanderbilt University, University of New Mexico, University of South Alabama, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ball State University, Indiana State University, University of Cincinnati, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northern Arizona University, Rutgers University-Newark, Western Illinois University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, State University of New York College-Buffalo, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and Florida State University-Tallahassee.
However, University of Southern California (USC), which has seen some awful, high-profile crimes, including the killing of two graduate students from China in this spring, was nowhere to be found on the magazine's Top 25 "Most Dangerous" list.
Some in the education field challenged the listing by saying that besides the killing of two Chinese students in this spring in a botched robbery off-campus, USC has other problems.
Last September two USC students were shot at an off-campus party. And this Halloween there was a shooting on campus at a party with a few hundred students in attendance. So how did UCLA end up topping the list while USC is not even on the list? It appears that sloppy methodology is the culprit.
City News Service reported that Business Insider used data that only included public universities, although the magazine doesn't explain this and says only that it ranked schools with enrollments over 10,000, and it averaged FBI data from 2008 until 2011.
UCLA claimed that the magazine crunched the data. It said the magazine didn't distinguish between crime that happened on and off campus. Business Insider counted all the crime reports that went through the UCLA police, whose jurisdiction includes homes and businesses in West Los Angeles that have little or nothing to do with students or the university.
The crime reports also included data from two major medical centers run by the university, health clinics and off-campus housing. Business Insider admits this is a flaw, but it didn't take any pains to correct its data or even let readers know which campuses this affects.
UCLA issued a statement from director of media relations Phil Hampton that "to conclude that UCLA somehow is dangerous is a reckless mischaracterization of data."
"Safety is a priority at UCLA, and we are proud of our record. UCLA police take reports of crimes committed not only on university-owned and university-operated properties both on campus and off, but also crimes committed in neighboring off-campus areas where UCLA police have concurrent jurisdiction with other law enforcement agencies. Our students feel safe," the statement said.
Some campus safety experts also said the biggest problem with a list like this is that it actually punishes schools that are making campus safety a priority. Campus Safety Magazine writes that relatively higher crime statistics on a college campus signal that a university is doing a good job reaching out to crime victims.