safest college campuses 2018

For parents sending their children off to college, safety is usually the number one concern. It is often the first time that kids are off on their own, living independently outside of the home. Choosing a school with a solid reputation for security and low potential for dangerous threats allows moms and dads to breathe easier once their kids ship off to earn a higher education.

With this thought in mind, we compiled our list of 2018’s Safest College Campuses in the U.S. We created this ranking using the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Campus Safety Security Survey put out by the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly all accredited institutions were considered in this project, save for those with enrollment under 10,000 students, and others for which a significant amount of data was unavailable.

Each school’s safety score was calculated by analyzing crimes reported by universities, including rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle theft and arsons. Also factoring into the safety score were violent and property crime rates for the cities in which the schools were located, and the number of law enforcement officers employed by the institution per 1,000 students.

1. Brigham Young University-Idaho


The safest school on our list is Brigham Young University-Idaho, located in Rexburg, Idaho. Once known as Ricks College, the private university is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which mandates students to adhere strictly to a code of behavior in line with the teachings of the church. Students must follow dress and grooming codes, refrain from consuming drugs or alcohol, and abstain from premarital sex. Still, all the rules seem to achieve the desired effect, as BYU-Idaho has some of the lowest crime rates of any institution in the country, which is even more impressive considering that enrollment tops 40,000. Rexburg, the small city it is located in, also benefits from a crime levels far below the national average.

2. Oakland University


Number two on the list is Oakland University, a public university located in Rochester, Michigan. Violent crime is practically non-existent on this campus, unique for both a public university and one topping 20,000 in enrollment. This fact, combined with Rochester's very low crime rates, make for a very safe university environment.

3. Northern Kentucky University


Third on the list is Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. The school’s latest enrollment figures list 14,699, and yet the most recent FBI crime figures for the school do not include a single incident of violent crime.

4. University of Rhode Island


We head east to Rhode Island for #4 in the ranking, University of Rhode Island’s largest campus, located in the small village of South Kingstown. Known for its well-respected research department in the field of agricultural economics, the school also boasts very low rates of violent and property crime.

5. Bridgewater State University


Rounding out the top five is Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. A modestly sized public school with an enrollment of just over 11K, Bridgewater State has very low crime rates, while the city it is located in is a great deal safer than average compared to the rest of the college towns on the list.

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Looking at the top twenty safest campuses, overall, the state of Massachusetts has the most placings by a large margin, with three schools in the top ten alone, and four in the top twenty. Michigan, Kentucky and Idaho all follow, with two schools each placing in the top ten.

2018's Safest College Campuses

crime, campus
crime, campus
1IDAHOBrigham Young University-IdahoRexburg43,2782017
2MICHIGANOakland UniversityRochester20,261037
3KENTUCKYNorthern Kentucky UniversityHighland Heights14,699050
4RHODE ISLANDUniversity of Rhode IslandSouth Kingstown16,613270
5MASSACHUSETTSBridgewater State UniversityBridgewater11,0891231
6NEW HAMPSHIREUniversity of New HampshireDurham15,35126105
7MASSACHUSETTSBoston CollegeNewton14,35410122
8VIRGINIAVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg32,66310175
9MASSACHUSETTSUniversity of Massachusetts:Amherst29,26914229
10MASSACHUSETTSTufts University:Medford11,137774
11ILLINOISSouthern Illinois University:Edwardsville14,265581
12INDIANAPurdue UniversityWest Lafayette40,4728256
13CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:San Marcos12,793449
14UTAHUtah State UniversityLogan28,622428
15IDAHOUniversity of IdahoMoscow13,78474
16NEW JERSEYMontclair State UniversityMontclair20,465384
17MICHIGANCentral Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant26,825583
18KENTUCKYMorehead State UniversityMorehead10,872050
19OKLAHOMAUniversity of Central OklahomaEdmond16,910361
20WYOMINGUniversity of WyomingLaramie12,6480102
21VIRGINIAGeorge Mason UniversityFairfax33,92912115
22SOUTH DAKOTASouth Dakota State UniversityBrookings12,576359
23MICHIGANFerris State UniversityBig Rapids14,715538
24NEW JERSEYWilliam Paterson UniversityWayne10,862063
25OHIOKent State UniversityKent30,0677159
26PENNSYLVANIAPennsylvania State University:University Park47,30750502
27GEORGIAKennesaw State UniversityKennesaw33,25211209
28IOWAIowa State UniversityAmes35,71414255
29MAINEUniversity of Maine:Orono10,92220138
30IOWAUniversity of Northern IowaCedar Falls11,981781
31NORTH CAROLINAAppalachian State UniversityBoone17,932470
32OHIOBowling Green State UniversityBowling Green16,9080135
33TEXASTexas A&M University:Commerce12,928381
34WEST VIRGINIAWest Virginia UniversityMorgantown28,776581
35WASHINGTONWashington State University:Pullman29,68615142
36ILLINOISWestern Illinois UniversityMacomb11,094968
37NEW JERSEYKean UniversityUnion14,1121128
38WISCONSINUniversity of Wisconsin:Oshkosh14,051342
39PENNSYLVANIAWest Chester UniversityWest Chester16,597568
40TEXASTexas Woman's UniversityDenton15,286455
41TEXASUniversity of Texas:El Paso23,39710138
42KANSASFort Hays State UniversityHays14,210444
43IDAHOBoise State UniversityBoise29,4284321
44CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Irvine30,83621442
45UTAHUtah Valley UniversityOrem33,211480
46VIRGINIAJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburg21,2276124
47MICHIGANMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing50,53838578
48TEXASUniversity of North TexasDenton37,2999154
49TEXASTexas A&M University:College Station63,81314452
50UTAHBrigham Young UniversityProvo33,4691185
51DELAWAREUniversity of DelawareNewark22,8523143
52NORTH CAROLINAUniversity of North Carolina:Chapel Hill29,08412204
53MICHIGANUniversity of Michigan:Ann Arbor43,65113534
54SOUTH CAROLINACollege of CharlestonCharleston11,531056
55TEXASStephen F. Austin State UniversityNacogdoches12,606450
56IOWAUniversity of IowaIowa City30,84418256
57TEXASTarleton State UniversityStephenville12,3306107
58NEW JERSEYRowan UniversityGlassboro16,1558210
59CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Fullerton38,9484213
60FLORIDAFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca Raton30,3806160
61CONNECTICUTCentral Connecticut State UniversityNew Britain12,086225
62WISCONSINUniversity of Wisconsin:Eau Claire10,592158
63MASSACHUSETTSUniversity of Massachusetts:Harbor Campus, Boston17,030275
64FLORIDAUniversity of South Florida:Tampa42,0678323
65IDAHOIdaho State UniversityPocatello16,851423
66GEORGIAGeorgia Gwinnett CollegeLawrenceville11,468020
67CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Carson14,635445
68MISSISSIPPIUniversity of Mississippi:Oxford23,2126160
69COLORADOColorado State UniversityFort Collins30,6146322
70WISCONSINUniversity of Wisconsin:Madison42,71613287
71CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:San Diego32,90613418
72LOUISIANALouisiana Tech UniversityRuston12,371256
73WASHINGTONEastern Washington UniversityCheney12,3611152
74HAWAIIUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonolulu23,2933652
75CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Hayward15,528375
76MISSOURIUniversity of Missouri:Columbia35,4249228
77VIRGINIAUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville23,88316189
78TENNESSEEAustin Peay State UniversityClarksville10,099562
79SOUTH CAROLINAClemson UniversityClemson22,6984209
80TEXASTexas State UniversitySan Marcos37,9793169
81GEORGIAUniversity of North GeorgiaDahlonega17,289018
82NEW YORKCornell UniversityIthaca21,9047217
83CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Los Angeles27,6808145
84TEXASUniversity of Texas:Arlington41,98811115
85CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Davis35,18612555
86KENTUCKYMurray State UniversityMurray10,998479
87CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Northridge, Los Angeles41,54821258
88NEW JERSEYNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark11,3256101
89OKLAHOMAOklahoma State University:Stillwater25,9306178
90CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:San Jose32,77330424
91NEW JERSEYRutgers University:New Brunswick49,42829542
92MASSACHUSETTSHarvard UniversityCambridge29,6523574
93MARYLANDTowson UniversityTowson22,284276
94MASSACHUSETTSBoston UniversityBoston32,15819364
95MISSOURIUniversity of Central MissouriWarrenburg14,39525146
96NEBRASKAUniversity of Nebraska:Lincoln25,26015187
97CALIFORNIASan Diego State UniversitySan Diego34,25419593
98MASSACHUSETTSNortheastern UniversityBoston19,94025253
99PENNSYLVANIAIndiana UniversityIndiana13,835252
100KANSASKansas State UniversityManhattan24,146777
101CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Long Beach37,4469193
102NORTH DAKOTANorth Dakota State UniversityFargo14,5161109
103NORTH CAROLINAEast Carolina UniversityGreenville28,28913144
104WEST VIRGINIAMarshall UniversityHuntington13,6212522
105TENNESSEEMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboro22,51110134
106CALIFORNIACalifornia State Polytechnic University:Pomona23,7177175
107MICHIGANEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilanti21,82419150
108OHIOOhio UniversityAthens29,15715172
109INDIANAIndiana University:Bloomington48,51414338
110NORTH DAKOTAUniversity of North DakotaGrand Forks14,9514159
111WASHINGTONCentral Washington UniversityEllensburg11,9934108
112TEXASUniversity of Texas:Austin50,95013337
113MICHIGANGrand Valley State UniversityAllendale Charter Township25,3258134
114COLORADOUniversity of Colorado:Denver23,671156
115COLORADOUniversity of Colorado:Colorado Springs11,9881146
116MONTANAMontana State UniversityBozeman15,23612212
117FLORIDAFlorida SouthWestern State CollegeFort Myers15,709014
118ILLINOISUniversity of Illinois:Urbana45,84220269
119NEW JERSEYRutgers University:Newark11,72010256
120VERMONTUniversity of VermontBurlington12,815694
121OKLAHOMAUniversity of Oklahoma:Norman27,4285334
122ILLINOISSouthern Illinois University:Carbondale17,29211149
123KANSASUniversity of Kansas:Lawrence27,2595205
124GEORGIAGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboro20,4593121
125ILLINOISNorthern Illinois UniversityDekalb20,13013141
126NEW YORKState University of New York:Stony Brook25,27214250
127CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Sacramento30,2844198
128GEORGIAUniversity of GeorgiaAthens36,13018342
129MISSISSIPPIMississippi State UniversityStarkville20,8737165
130NORTH CAROLINAWestern Carolina UniversityCullowhee10,340579
131FLORIDASanta Fe CollegeGainesville14,767024
132MARYLANDUniversity of MarylandCollege Park38,14018341
133NORTH CAROLINAUniversity of North Carolina:Greensboro19,39312159
134TEXASUniversity of Texas:Dallas24,5545113
135TENNESSEEEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City14,334976
136NORTH CAROLINANorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh34,01517264
137COLORADOUniversity of Colorado:Boulder33,05618545
138FLORIDAUniversity of North FloridaJacksonville15,675389
139FLORIDAFlorida Gulf Coast UniversityFort Myers14,833353
140PENNSYLVANIAUniversity of Pittsburgh:Pittsburgh28,64915242
141TEXASTexas Christian UniversityFort Worth10,3234129
142NEVADAUniversity of Nevada:Reno20,8981179
143COLORADOUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeley12,2167152
144MASSACHUSETTSMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge11,3314334
145TEXASBaylor UniversityWaco16,78711143
146ALABAMAUniversity of Alabama:Tuscaloosa37,09820306
147KENTUCKYWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling Green20,063395
148GEORGIAUniversity of West GeorgiaCarrollton12,834749
149MISSOURISoutheast Missouri State UniversityCape Girardeau11,987736
150FLORIDAUniversity of FloridaGainesville50,64510367
151CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Santa Barbara23,49748288
152TEXASTexas A&M University:Corpus Christi11,661580
153NEVADAUniversity of Nevada:Las Vegas28,60011279
154OHIOMiami UniversityOxford19,07626232
155KENTUCKYEastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond16,8447193
156ARIZONANorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff29,02126232
157INDIANABall State UniversityMuncie21,1967237
158FLORIDAUniversity of West FloridaPensacola12,7631055
159NORTH CAROLINAUniversity of North Carolina:Charlotte27,9832128
160MINNESOTAUniversity of Minnesota:Duluth10,878555
161CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Riverside21,3858289
162CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Los Angeles41,90884768
163CALIFORNIACalifornia State Polytechnic University:San Luis Obispo20,94412136
164CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Chico17,2208256
165ILLINOISLoyola University of ChicagoChicago16,43726112
166TEXASUniversity of Texas:Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg28,5840100
167VIRGINIAVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond30,91833512
168NORTH CAROLINANorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State UniversityGreensboro10,8528189
169CONNECTICUTSouthern Connecticut State UniversityNew Haven10,473424
170NORTH CAROLINAUniversity of North Carolina:Wilmington14,9184208
171TENNESSEETennessee Technological UniversityCookeville10,900480
172WISCONSINUniversity of Wisconsin:La Crosse10,4900119
173TEXASSouthern Methodist UniversityDallas11,64313160
174OREGONUniversity of OregonEugene24,03220359
175TEXASUniversity of Houston:Houston14,262137
176ARKANSASArkansas Tech UniversityRussellville12,054683
177ARKANSASUniversity of Arkansas:Fayetteville26,7549233
178OHIOUniversity of AkronAkron23,10110191
179ARKANSASUniversity of Central ArkansasConway11,7544112
180ARKANSASArkansas State University:Jonesboro13,4106113
181NEW YORKState University of New York:Binghamton16,9139166
182ALABAMAUniversity of Alabama:Birmingham18,33332353
183FLORIDAFlorida International UniversityMiami49,78215355
184KENTUCKYUniversity of KentuckyLexington29,72717499
185ILLINOISUniversity of ChicagoChicago15,39114215
186CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:Fresno24,13615337
187ARIZONAArizona State UniversityTempe90,90645902
188OHIOOhio State UniversityColumbus58,66333820
189TEXASLamar UniversityBeaumont14,9651076
190VIRGINIAOld Dominion UniversityNorfolk24,67231368
191TEXASUniversity of Texas:San Antonio28,78710112
192ALABAMAUniversity of South AlabamaMobile16,21122119
193NEW YORKState University of New York:Buffalo29,79610268
194WASHINGTONWestern Washington UniversityBellingham15,3323120
195MICHIGANWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazoo23,52916150
196CALIFORNIACalifornia State University:San Bernardino20,0241099
197OREGONPortland State UniversityPortland27,4886244
198OHIOUniversity of ToledoToledo20,37710207
199MINNESOTAUniversity of Minnesota:Minneapolis50,6788485
200NEW MEXICONew Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces15,49020267
201INDIANAIndiana State UniversityTerre Haute13,58419162
202LOUISIANALouisiana State University:Baton Rouge31,52411366
203KENTUCKYUniversity of LouisvilleLouisville21,29410321
204FLORIDAUniversity of Central FloridaOrlando62,95314297
205WISCONSINUniversity of Wisconsin:Milwaukee26,7267153
206MONTANAUniversity of MontanaMissoula13,0446127
207NORTH CAROLINADuke UniversityDurham15,98410466
208LOUISIANATulane UniversityNew Orleans12,4857243
209CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Berkeley38,18944699
210TEXASUniversity of HoustonHouston42,70418517
211GEORGIAValdosta State UniversityValdosta11,3023122
212LOUISIANAUniversity of Louisiana:Lafayette17,50820221
213ALABAMATroy UniversityTroy17,7654116
214MISSOURIUniversity of Missouri:Kansas City16,685564
215OHIOWright State UniversityDayton17,070588
216OHIOUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnati36,04245254
217GEORGIAGeorgia State UniversityAtlanta32,05825242
218NEW YORKState University of New York College:Buffalo10,33018155
219CONNECTICUTYale UniversityNew Haven12,3851274
220CALIFORNIASan Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco30,2569260
221ALASKAUniversity of Alaska:Anchorage16,7624139
222KANSASWichita State UniversityWichita14,240193
223SOUTH CAROLINAUniversity of South Carolina:Columbia33,7243314
224TENNESSEEUniversity of Tennessee:Chattanooga11,387474
225TENNESSEEUniversity of Tennessee:Knoxville27,8455270
226TEXASTexas Tech UniversityLubbock35,8596458
227GEORGIAGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta25,03417243
228SOUTH CAROLINACoastal Carolina UniversityConway10,26313236
229INDIANAIndiana University:Indianapolis30,1059318
230MARYLANDUniversity of Maryland:Baltimore County13,839079
231WASHINGTONUniversity of WashingtonSeattle45,40813712
232FLORIDAFlorida State University:Tallahassee40,83020523
233ARIZONAUniversity of ArizonaTucson42,59524612
234CALIFORNIAUniversity of California:Santa Cruz17,86812344
235WISCONSINMarquette UniversityMilwaukee11,49119267
236OHIOCleveland State UniversityCleveland16,9158187
237TENNESSEEUniversity of MemphisMemphis20,58515155
238MISSOURIUniversity of Missouri:St. Louis16,738580
239MISSOURIWashington UniversitySt. Louis14,688490
240ARKANSASUniversity of Arkansas:Little Rock11,891182
241GEORGIAEmory UniversityAtlanta13,78810419
242UTAHUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City31,59212437
243NEW MEXICOUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerque27,28523736


We created this ranking using the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Campus Safety Security Survey put out by the U.S. Department of Education. The highest ranked University campuses boast low total campus and local area crime. University campuses with a significant lack of reported data were excluded, as well as all non-accredited Universities offering 4-year degrees. 

We determined that 10,000 enrolled students was an appropriate threshold for this ranking. No remote campuses under the same University were aggregated and each enrollment number pertains to that specific campus.

Crimes reported by universities including violent crimes: Murder/Non-negligent Manslaughter, Negligent Manslaughter, Rape (both definitions), Robbery, Aggravated Assault and property crimes: Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson. A campus safety score was calculated by adding together the rates of both types of crimes per 1,000 students (violent crime was weighted 150% higher than property crime to account for the severity of the crime).

Crime statistics for the city in which the university campus is located, including violent crimes: Murder/Non-negligent Manslaughter, Negligent Manslaughter, Rape (both definitions), Robbery, Aggravated Assault and property crimes: Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson. A local area safety score was calculated by adding together the rates of both types of crimes per 1,000 inhabitants (violent crime was weighted 150% higher than property crime to account for the severity of the crime).

The number of law enforcement officers employed by the University at a particular campus was also a factor in the ranking.

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