Univ. Crime Soars — Amid Citywide Drop

For this New York Post piece, I analyzed U.S. Department of Education data using Microsoft Excel and Access to determine that while citywide crime famously declined in the last several years, assaults, burglaries, robberies and rapes on New York City college campuses increased dramatically. 

March 18, 2007

The New York Post

UNIV. CRIME SOARS - AMID CITYWIDE DROP

By TOMMY HALLISSEY

New York City colleges have a dirty little secret they’re not sharing with prospective students - while citywide crime has plunged in the past several years, assaults, burglaries, robberies and rapes on campuses have sharply increased.

In fact, the number of campus burglaries soared 142 percent between 2001 to 2005, while aggravated assaults leaped 81 percent over the same period, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics reviewed by The Post.

Over that same four-year period, citywide burglaries dropped 26.5 percent and the most serious assaults fell by 24.7 percent.

At Columbia University, where burglaries skyrocketed to 113 in 2005 from nine in 2001, Jeanette Gibson, a 23-year old co-ed brought a taser gun to school in an attempt to protect herself from becoming a victim.

"It is really scary," Gibson said. She no longer keeps it out in the open because a cop told her it was illegal. "But sometimes I still get scared, like it needs to be by my door," Gibson said. "It is right next to my bed, actually."

Despite - or maybe because of - the jump in crime, schools try to keep the information hidden.

When the admissions office at New York University was asked about crime levels on campus, the rep laughed at the request. “Incidents are few and far between,” the admissions counselor said. “The 9th Precinct is one of the safest in the city.”

That might be true, but there were six forcible sex offenses at NYU in 2005 - twice the 2001 total.

"That is a trend that we would like to see reversed," said John Beckman, an NYU spokesman.

Carina Badalementi, a 22-year-old NYU student, faults drug and alcohol abuse for the sex offenses at her school.

"I’ve heard about roofies a couple times," said Badalementi, an art student who lives in the East Village, referring to the infamous date-rape sedative. "I think of the bars that give pitchers [of beer] really cheap to kids who don’t have IDs. You think, ‘This girl just got to New York City, and she needs to be able to walk.’ "

The colleges must report statistics to the DoE. The most recent figures, for 2005, have just been released and are at ope.ed.gov/security/main.asp.

Additional reporting by Christine Lagorio

'HIGHER' LEARNING

Although crime throughout New York City is falling, offenses are on the upswing at metro colleges. Likewise, the incidence of alcohol violations is up, with Fordham University far outpacing the pack.

College Crime vs. City

Forcible sex offense +44% -15%

Robbery +14% -12%

Aggravated assault +81% -25%

Burglary +142% -27%

Grand larceny auto -83% -40%

Booze Violations - On Campus 2005 total Change from 2001 

Fordham University 905 +6.2%

NYU 194 +63%

Mount St. Vincent 166 +181%

Pratt Institute 152 -26.9%

St. John’s 142 +6.9%

Source: U.S. Dept. of Education