You finished taking those grueling ACT and SAT’s and have been filling out college applications like it’s your job. The time to choose which college you’ll be attending is fast approaching, and it’s no small matter; you want to make the best choice. Among the lengthy list of things to consider, one thing that should not be taken lightly is campus safety. We all know you want to get out of mom and dad’s house, but knowing you’re going somewhere safe will put you all at ease.
To help narrow down your choice, we took a look at the stats and compiled a list of the 25 safest university campuses across the United States, based on the least amount of crime per capita. According to the data, you can rest easy while attending these 25 campuses.
Safest College Towns in the US
Crime Index: 300:1
The CSUF campus—located in Fullerton, California—has a total enrollment of just over 40,200 students, making it the largest student body of 23 campuses in the California State University system. During a five year span, there were approximately 27 crimes committed each year, which is pretty impressive considering the hefty institution size.
On-campus police patrol the grounds 24/7, and they’ve also set up 164 emergency blue telephones around campus for students to use in case of emergencies. To ensure everyone arrives at their destination safely, they also offer free rides to students at any time of the day.
Crime Index: 328:1
Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the UofL campus is is one of the safest in America despite its proximity to a major city. Incoming freshmen are required to take a safety course on alcohol use, and the University holds events like “Take Back the Night” to teach students how to stay safe on campus.
In addition to this, the campus is well lit, and students often say that they feel safe walking around the campus. On average, the University of Louisville experiences about 14 crimes per year.
Crime Index: 333:1
Youngstown State University is a four-year, urban research university located in Youngstown, Ohio. The University ranks as being the safest campus in the state of Ohio, with only eight crimes committed over the course of 2011-2015.
Police enforcement is essential to maintaining a low crime rate here. There is a police station right next to campus, and students say that there are always officers visible. One student made a comment saying, “even if you needed help opening a jar of pickles, they (police) would be there in a heartbeat.” A funny comparison, but this just goes to show that students feel safe, and if any problem should arise they know the police will act promptly.
Crime Index: 337:1
Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne is a public university system that merges two state systems together: Indiana University and Purdue University. Just over 14,000 students attend IPFW, and of the four Purdue University locations, IPFW is the safest—IPFW has an average crime rate of 9 cases a year.
Students are required to take an online course on sexual assault, which provides them with information on where to go, who to talk to, and what to do. Campus police can be seen night and day, and there are several lit security polls scattered throughout the campus where students can call for help should they need it.
Crime Index: 345:1
Sam Houston State University is the third oldest university in Texas and has a total enrollment of just over 20,000 students. Since the founding of the state of Texas, Huntsville has been the headquarters for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, so safety has always been a top priority at Sam Houston. Yearly, on average, there are 12 crimes committed here on campus.
Students say that they feel safe walking around campus, even at night. This is due to a number of factors, including its Huntsville location and University safety services like Kat Sage, which sends text alerts to students about possible dangers that could or have occurred.
Crime Index: 350:1
One of the safest schools in the state, Texas Woman’s University in Denton is the largest state-supported university for women in the country. With a student population of over 15,000 students, there were only 42 crimes reported throughout 2011-2015.
Students say they feel safe on campus and can rarely recall any incidents that occur. Should an incident occur, the University immediately alerts its students via email. Police are always patrolling campus, and there are plenty of emergency poles on campus to call for help. Also, after 5 pm, students with night classes can park in faculty parking lots to be closer to the buildings, helping to deter any potential crime.
Crime Index: 363:1
Of the three Rutgers University locations, the campus in Newark, New Jersey is the safest. Newark does have a reputation for being an unsafe city, but crime on campus is still low. Enrollment at Rutgers in just under 12,000, and from 2011-2015 there were just 33 reported cases of crime.
To spread awareness, students undergo a class on sexual assault, drug, and alcohol use during their freshman orientation. Students say that they rarely feel unsafe on campus. If they do, it’s during the late night hours, but having 24 hours police surveillance puts them at ease.
Crime Index: 386:1
Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Myers, FL and is part of the State University System of Florida. FGCU students say on-campus crime is rare, and they generally feel safe walking around school grounds, even at night. On average, less than eight crimes are committed on campus per year.
According to students, you don’t hear much about crimes going on around campus. Campus security is easy to get ahold of, especially due to the phone towers scattered around campus.
Crime Index: 423:1
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a four-year public research university that has multiple campuses in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas. Ranking as our safest university in Texas, UTRGV has a student body of just under 30,000. Over a span of five years, the campus averaged just over 13 crimes per a year.
The University strives to keep students safe by providing all incoming freshmen and transfers with numbers and locations to get help. In addition, students can become part of a texting chain that alerts the student body of any suspicious activity or crime near campus.
Crime Index: 448:1
Brigham Young University is a private research university in Provo, UT that is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU is both the third largest university and the largest religious university in the country.
Campus police, phone and email alert systems, and warning signs that alert students of areas that aren’t lit well all help to keep students safe. Beyond that, each student must sign a code of honor as they enter BYU that states there will be no sexual, alcohol, or drug activity on campus.
Crime Index: 449:1
Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles from Cincinnati—is Northern Kentucky University. The youngest of Kentucky’s eight statewide universities, NFU has a total enrollment of just over 14,000 students.
Students say that the campus is quiet, and the community never feels unsafe. Additionally, students say that NKU values safety and security, which is often listed as a reason why they love the campus. And the data agrees; from 2011-2015, on-campus crime averaged about six cases per year.
Crime Index: 485:1
Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit Christian research institution located in Phoenix, Arizona. They offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs to just over 17,000 students. Safety of GCU students is a top priority, and they have police officers patrolling the campus 24-hours a day.
Officers have since implemented RAD, a self-defense training call, and created a Facebook page to assist their efforts in communicating with the student body. Students are alerted of any updates through email and text and can use the online reporting tool TIPS to securely report suspicious activities or events that may have occurred.
Crime Index: 499:1
Located in Logan, Utah, the USU campus has a total enrollment of just over 28,000 students. USU has ranked on a number of “safest college campus” lists, and the campus ranks number 13 on ours. On campus, the school averaged about 11 crimes per a year from 2011-2015.
Students say on-campus police are always quick to respond. The University also holds several events to promote awareness on how to conduct yourself in the case of an emergency.
Crime Index: 526:1
Coming in as the safest university in Utah is Weber State University, a public research institution located in the city of Ogden. Students say that Weber State works hard to keep its students safe, and with an average of just ten crimes per academic year, this is evident.
To increase campus safety, each student is required to complete a course on sexual harassment and assault. Both university and city police are on constant patrol, and there are several emergency alarm stations that can be used to call for help.
Crime Index: 582:1
Coming in at number eleven on our list is the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, the only Wisconsin school to rank on our list. With an enrollment size of almost 11,000, there have been 17 reported crimes from 2011-2015—an average of just over three each academic year.
Students say that whenever an incident has occurred, the student body comes together to support and raise awareness. The presence of sworn police officers and emergency telephones around campus also help promote a safe environment.
Crime Index: 612:1
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, non-profit university situated between Manchester and Hooksett. The only New Hampshire university to make the list, SNHU had, on average, 21 reported cases of crimes per year from 2011-2015. With a student body of 65,000, in perspective, that number doesn’t seem too outrageous.
SNHU takes serious precautions to increase campus safety. On top of on-campus police, students say that the campus community looks out for one another, as well as teachers and staff.
Crime Index: 664:1
Based in New York City, NYU is a private, nonprofit research university that has a total enrollment of just over 46,000 students. NYU is located in Manhattan, with its main campus in Greenwich Village.
Even though the school is located in the middle of Manhattan, students say that the University does a great job at securing the campus. The staff at NYU strives to create an environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable. There are a lot of student safety forums that anyone can attend, and security patrols the campus day and night.
Crime Index: 675:1
A private research institution in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nova Southeastern University offers several undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Crime is not taken lightly on campus, and several safety measures are taken to provide a safe environment.
Security Magazine even mentioned Nova for being a nationally recognized model for campus safety. From 2011-2015, 38 on-campus crimes were committed, despite a hefty enrollment size of over 25,000 students.
Crime Index: 695:1
Saint Leo University is a non-profit, Catholic University located in Saint Leo, Florida. Saint Leo prides itself on being one of the safest campuses in Florida, and it makes our list as the seventh safest campus in the nation. With an enrollment of over 21,000 students, only six crimes are committed on campus, on average, per academic year. The Saint Leo safety department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week so students can feel safe at any time.
Crime Index: 710:1
The University of North Georgia has five separate campuses in the state of Georgia, with its main campus located in Dahlonega. From 2011-2015, there were just five crimes committed, on average, per academic year.
The University of North Georgia is a military school, and the cadets, who make up the majority of the student body, are expected to follow strict rules. Students also attribute the fact that there is only one bar in town to helping keep crime low.
Crime Index: 747:1
Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus, located in Rexburg, comes in at number five on our list. A rather large campus, BYU enrolls over 32,000 students each year. For having such a high population, Brigham’s crime rates are relatively low. From 2011 to 2015, less than 43 on campus crimes were committed.
The University is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and students abide by the CES Honor Code that was created to keep a wholesome, honest, and safe environment. This, in turn, helps keep on-campus crime rates low.
Crime Index: 750:1
The New School is a private university located in Lower Manhattan. The majority of the campus is located in New York’s Greenwich Village, and even though the school lies within the city, students say they feel safe while walking about campus. Enrollment size at the New School is just over 10,000 students, and crime reported from 2011 to 2015 averages out to less than three crimes per semester.
Security around campus is tight; anyone entering a campus building must scan a valid school ID, and guests have to sign-in. Beyond that, students credit the University’s philosophy for innovative and progressive thinking to promoting a safer environment.
Crime Index: 1,037:1
Park University is a private institution with a student body of just over 11,000. Its flagship campus is located in suburban Parkville, Missouri. Park has ranked as being one of the ten most affordable private universities by U.S. News & World Report, and it steals the number three spot for safest campuses on our list. The campus is located near a military base and has a zero tolerance policy for any campus crime. From 2011 to 2015, there were only ten instances of on-campus crime, averaging less than three crimes per academic year.
Students say they feel safe on campus due in large part to the presence of Campus Safety Officers. As students walk about campus, they say there is always an officer visible and willing to help.
Crime Index: 1,203:1
Coming in at number two on our list is Columbia College. Located in Columbia, Missouri, Columbia College is a private, nonprofit university with ties to the Christian Church since its founding in 1851. Annual enrollment is just over 14,000 students, and crime rates are staggering low. From the years 2011 to 2015, on-campus crime averaged less than three instances per academic year.
Its status as a small campus plays a large part in the school’s low crime rate, and a good portion of the student body is on active duty in the military. Security guards, emergency phones, and well-lit paths are also factors that ease the minds of students on campus.
Crime Index: 1,415:1
Ringing it at number one on our list is Pace University. A private university in NYC, Pace’s main campus is located in Manhattan. Even being located in the largest city in the nation, Pace University actively works hard to maintain a safe environment, and the data proves that their methods work. With a total enrollment of just under 13,000 students, the campus averages just two crimes per academic year.
Pace has a highly trained security staff that provides Security Awareness programs to inform the student population of any need-to-know information. The student body even comes together and holds rallies to inform their fellow students about on-campus safety. Pace University is definitely taking the necessary precautions to keep its students safe!
We analyzed over 500 colleges and universities during the data collection process. 4-year public/private, non-profit institutions with an institution size of over 5,000 individuals, as well as on-campus housing facilities, were taken into consideration.
To establish our list, we used information and statistics from the U.S. Department Education’s Campus and Security database. Criminal offenses on-campus from the years 2011-2015 were analyzed and compared with the institution size to determine the school’s Crime Index (Crime Index = Institution size/number of criminal offenses on campus).
Note: Not included in this ranking were any schools with the majority of students enrolled in online learning programs, though we’re sure the comfort of your home is probably pretty safe as well.