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College Crimes Increased Before Protests, Research Shows

Leonard Spies Jr.

College Crimes Increased Before Protests, Research Shows

I appeared on a national television show where Black female students from a Washington D.C. university complained that they were stalked and harassed both on and off campus. They said that crime in D.C. was out of control and affected their ability to attend classes without fear.

There seems to be a concern about campus crime before the recent demonstrations protesting the war in Gaza. There are media reports that outside non-collegiate people are involved in protests.

Is there a connection between the protests and increasing crime on campuses? 

A University of Chicago professor said Sunday that research shows that students on college campuses are more fearful than ever before. Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Professor Robert Pape told host Margaret Brennan: “The big thing we learned is that the feelings of fear on college campuses are more widespread and more intense than we have known.”

“The research at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats involved 5,000 students at hundreds of colleges. “Overall, 56% of Jewish students report feeling in personal danger,” Pape told Brennan. “Close behind, 52% of Muslim students report feeling in personal danger. And 16% of all students who are not Jewish and not Muslim.”

“The research was conducted in December-January after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel and the start of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, but well before the latest wave of campus protests (emphasis added) connected to the Israel-Hamas war.” 

College Crimes

Campus crime returns to levels seen before the pandemic!
According to government data, the number of crimes reported by college campuses nationwide returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. While fewer students were enrolled during that year, crime reports from almost 6,000 colleges increased by roughly 8% from 2019.

Debate Over Collge Crime

Statistics from the National Crime Victimization Survey released in 2023 by the US Department of Justice state that the country just experienced the largest increase in violent crime in the nation’s history (44 percent). Per the FBI, cybercrime has almost doubled. Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are big increases in juvenile crime. There were decreases in overall crime reported to law enforcement per preliminary statistics offered by the FBI for 2023 but most of those reductions occurred in nonmetropolitan areas.

“As students returned to college campuses across the United States, so did campus crime, data shows, alarming some parents so much that they hired their own security force.”

“The number of crimes reported by college campuses across the country rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, government data shows.”

“Crime reported from nearly 6,000 institutions rose about 8% from 2019, even though enrollments dipped during that timeframe. The jump in offenses between 2019 and 2022 coincided with students’ post-pandemic return en masse to campuses. Compared with year-over-year changes before 2019, the recent jump represents the largest increase since post-secondary institutions that receive federal funding began reporting campus safety statistics.”

“The reported numbers from 2022 include offenses that occurred on and off campus, including on university properties located elsewhere; offenses that occurred on public property adjacent to campuses, and a small number of offenses reported to institutions by local police.”

“Colleges and universities that receive federal funding must compile statistics about crimes that occur on or near campus under the Clery Act. The federal law, passed in 1990, was named after 20-year-old Jeanne Clery, a student whose rape and murder at her dorm at Lehigh University drew national attention.”

U.S. Department of Education On Crime

Per the US Department of Education, there were 38,303 crimes on college campuses in 2022, the highest number since 2013.

There were 31,368 in 2021 and 28,327 in 2020 (a low number during the pandemic).

As with all crime numbers, the vast majority are not reported to law enforcement.

“The Clery Act requires that all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV student financial assistance programs disclose campus crime statistics and other security information to students and the public. The VAWA amendments added requirements that institutions disclose statistics, policies and programs related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, among other changes.”


As I write this, universities throughout the country are engaged in protests regarding the war in Gaza after the massacres of thousands of Israeli citizens (along with rapes and hundreds of hostages taken) by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

Crimes committed on college campuses during the current demonstrations are not counted in the numbers above.

However, growing crime on college campuses (along with the current protests and hate crimes against Jewish students) provides a possible hint that colleges and universities may be having problems controlling the safety of their campuses regardless of the current protests.

Find out more:

SEE ALSO: The Rise of Student Voices: The U.S. Campus Protests

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