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Campus Safety

Special Feature
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Campus security and safety is an important feature of postsecondary education.

When dealing with issues like COVID-19, campus environments can also present unique challenges for helping to ensure safety and mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse was launched as a resource to support students, families, teachers, and other school personnel as they return to campus. A collection of lessons learned and best practices, the site provides resources to identify and support the needs of all students to ensure their safety.

Concerning crime on campus, an examination of postsecondary crime data over the past decade reveals that the overall number of reported on-campus crimes was lower in 2018 than in 2009 (28,500 vs. 34,100 incidents).

However, while the total number of reported on-campus crimes was lower in 2018 than in 2009, the number of reported forcible sex offenses on campus increased from 2,500 in 2009 to 12,300 in 2018 (a 383 percent increase). Forcible sex offenses constituted 43 percent of all criminal incidents reported on campus in 2018.

A report supported by the Office on Violence Against Women presents a campus model for addressing sexual assault by strengthening victim services, enacting effective strategies for holding offenders accountable, and introducing prevention education and awareness.

Additionally, the National Institute of Justice funded a project to examine policies and practices developed to meet the needs of victims and of those accused of sexual assault on campus to help understand more about challenges and emerging best practices. The resulting research was designed to identify the range and scope of policies and practices related to the investigation and adjudication of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States.

In addition to forcible sex offenses, other crimes commonly reported on campuses in 2018 included burglaries (34 percent of crimes) and motor vehicle thefts (11 percent of crimes).

Another resource for campus crime data is the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool. Developed by the U.S. Department of Education, this tool provides rapid customized reports for public inquiries relating to campus crime.

To learn more, visit the following pages for additional resources from OJP and other federal sources:

Date Modified: August 23, 2021
Date Created: August 12, 2020