UConn No. 8 in "most crime-rattled colleges" report
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 14:06
The public safety of the University of Connecticut and Storrs-Mansfield area has been called into question.
A recent study conducted by the news website “The Daily Beast” concluded that the University of Connecticut is No. 8 on the list of “America’s 25 Most Crime-Rattled Colleges.”
“I don’t know exactly where the website’s information is coming from, but overall, I don’t think our students are fearful of being here,” UConn Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor said. “Though I’ve only been here 12 weeks, I can say with some certainty that’s the Storrs-Mansfield and neighboring area is not a dangerous one.”
“The Daily Beast” looked at more than 500 schools across the nation, specifically those that fit the criteria of either a “four-year nonprofit private college” or “four-year public college with more than 6,000 total students.” After doing so, the website ranked the schools according to a created “subjective weighting system based on crime severity.” Among the crimes taken into account in the system are burglary, arson, assault and murder.
The rankings have upset many people affiliated with or attending the schools ranked out of belief that the system used for grading the severity of a school’s lack of safety is misleading. For instance, rape and other sexual assaults were not calculated into the weighting system, and severe isolated incidents – such as a school shooting – can drastically affect the ranking of a school that would otherwise not be considered “crime-rattled.”
One of the schools most upset by the rankings is the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), which was ranked No. 1 on the list, largely due to a recent shooting by a faculty member.
“It is no secret that we had a tragic shooting incident on our campus in 2010, and that event heavily skewed our ranking,” said Ray Garner, UAH spokesman in a statement earlier this week. “If you look at our overall crime statistics, you will find outside that isolated event that our university offers a safe environment for the thousands of students, faculty and staff that travel around our campus.”
“The Daily Beast” has released similar studies in the past. Two years ago, the website released “Most Dangerous Colleges 2010” in which forcible and non-forcible rapes were factored into the ranking system. UConn was ranked No. 40 in that year’s version of the study.
“I definitely don't think it should be ranked that high, I don't even understand why it's ranked,” said 3rd-semester exploratory major Tiffany Chen. “I've never thought of UConn as a ‘crime-rattled’ college. The only time I come close to feeling unsafe is when I get text alerts [from the school], but those get taken care of immediately.”
One reason for UConn’s high spot in the rankings is for it’s high number of arsons (11) and burglaries (91) from 2008-2010 that are the third and thirteenth most respectively out of the 25 ranked schools.
“I definitely think that ranking is way too high,” said Kevin Howard, a 5th-semester allied health major. “I feel pretty safe up in Storrs. I've never experienced any crime myself or heard of anything that would deserve that reputation.”