StateUniversity.com, which bills itself as the leading website for college information, has released its 2nd annual list of the safest colleges and universities in the United States.
It ranked Fort Hays State University as the safest in Kansas.
The report stated that colleges and universities were ranked for campus safety on a scale that accounts for severity of a crime as well as frequency of crime. Campus crime statistics were calculated per 1,000 students. The campus crime statistics published on StateUniversity.com were taken from crime reports submitted by college/university law enforcement between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011.
"College safety ratings based on campus crime can be a useful tool in evaluating a college or university; however, these safety ratings only provide part of the picture," the StateUniversity.com report stated. "Before making a college decision based on campus crime reports, students are advised to consider other factors, such as overall crime in the neighboring community. Local organizations and law enforcement may be able to provide such additional information."
The Safest Schools findings are based on incidents of campus crime as reported by campus safety officials. The 2012 rankings are available online:
As part of the Safest Schools ranking, StateUniversity.com analyzed crime statistics for 450 colleges and universities and assigned a safety rating to each school. Safety ratings are determined based on the number of occurrences of aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, theft/larceny, motor vehicle theft, forcible rape and murder on campus. They are weighed based on the probability of each incident happening to each student because, naturally, larger campuses would be expected to have a higher number of total incidents. Violent crime is given more weight in the ranking system and has a greater effect on the safety rating than non-violent crime such as theft.
StateUniversity.com notes that the ranking presents interesting data about which schools are safest. "There is no apparent correlation between campus crime rates and perceived academic quality" the report states. "Among the top 50 safest schools, you won't see many well-known national universities commonly found atop college ranking lists. In fact, the large state universities and prestigious colleges that are 'household names' in many parts of the country are scattered all over the list.
The top 10 safest schools nationwide, according to StateUniversity.com:
1. Arkansas State University, Beebe Campus
2. Sheridan College -- Sheridan, Wyo.
3. Lake Land College -- Mattoon, Ill.
4. Southern University at New Orleans
5. Erskine College and Seminary -- Due West, S.C.
6. Central Texas College -- Killeen
7. South Plains College -- Levelland, Texas
8. Virginia Western Community College -- Roanoke
9. Northeast State Community College -- Blountville, Tenn.
10. Delgado Community College -- New Orleans
"Student safety and campus crime are sometimes overlooked during the college evaluation process," said Dominik Mazur, founder of StateUniversity.com. "We believe it is important for students to be aware of crime on campus and in the surrounding community. Lately, this issue is more on people's minds after the recent school shootings that have been widely covered by the media."
Covering all U.S. institutions of higher learning, StateUniversity.com features the most complete collection of school statistics anywhere. The website allows prospective students to compare schools, research degree programs and submit requests for application materials.