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Campus Safety

Special Feature
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Campus crime can have long-lasting negative effects on not only the victims but the entire student body, staff, and surrounding community. These effects can include post-traumatic stress disorder, a fear of harm or violence, an inability to focus, and decreased academic performance.

Between 2009 and 2019, the number of reported on-campus crimes occurring at postsecondary institutions decreased by 20 percent. Despite this downward trend, the number of forcible sex offenses increased from 2,500 to 11,800 during the same time period, according to the 2021 Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety. Specifically, there was an 83 percent increase (average increase of about 16 percent per year) in reported forcible sex offenses between 2014 and 2018, followed by a 5 percent decrease between 2018 and 2019.

Of the total 27,300 criminal incidents reported on postsecondary institutions in 2019, 43 percent were forcible sex offenses. Additionally, a total of 757 hate crimes were reported on campuses of postsecondary institutions, with more than half of these crimes being motivated by race or ethnicity. The most common types of hate crimes were intimidation; destruction, damage, and vandalism; and simple assault.

A project supported by the Office on Violence Against Women presents a comprehensive campus model to address gender-based violence on college campuses by building broad campus and community engagement through coordinated collaboration and providing effective interventions and ongoing prevention and education programming.

Stalking is another risk for students on college and university campuses. Between 6 and 39 percent of students reported being stalked since entering college. Students at a higher risk of experiencing stalking include women, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, students living off campus, and younger students. Most victims are stalked by someone they know, most commonly former intimate partners.

To support victims of stalking, campus programs are encouraged to listen closely to victims and refer them for additional support, provide appropriate accommodations to help them feel safe, and collaborate with external support services and the justice system to protect victims and hold stalkers accountable.

For more data on campus crime, visit the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool from the U.S. Department of Education for rapid, customized reports.

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

Date Modified: August 26, 2022
Date Created: August 12, 2020