Search the Site

Campus Crime Junk Stats?

The Education Life supplement in yesterday’s Times included an intriguing article simply called “Data” and subtitled “Law and Order.” It listed crime statistics for roughly 120 urban college campuses across the country. A brief introduction warned that the statistics could easily be — well, junk:

With so many ways to consider and report crime, statistics are inconclusive. But by federal law, colleges and universities must distribute them annually. Crime rates can be compared at

Just how “inconclusive” are the numbers? Take a look at these four schools first:

Ohio State
Enrollment: 51,800
Forcible Sex: 53
Robbery: 6
Aggravated Assault: 0
Burglary: 329

Enrollment: 25,700
Forcible Sex: 18
Robbery: 3
Aggravated Assault: 5
Burglary: 35

U. of Minn.-Twin Cities
Enrollment: 50,400
Forcible Sex: 13
Robbery: 2
Aggravated Assault: 3
Burglary: 289

University of Mich.-Ann Arbor
Enrollment: 40,000
Forcible Sex: 11
Robbery: 7
Aggravated Assault: 14
Burglary: 48

Now take a look at a fifth school, the very largest one listed, New York University:

Enrollment: 52,800
Forcible Sex: 3
Robbery: 0
Aggravated Assault: 0
Burglary: 86

Zero robberies and zero aggravated assaults among a population of more than 50,000 students? And only 3 instances of forcible sex? Either these statistics aren’t worth the paper they are printed on or the New York City crime miracle really is miraculous. With numbers like those, NYU could afford to open up a campus in Singapore.