University of Minnesota ranks low in national report on campus safety

The low ranking comes amid a spike in crime near campus.

A Campus Connector waits for pedestrians to cross the busy Pleasant Street crosswalk between Walter Library and Appleby Hall on Friday, Dec. 1.

Jack Rodgers

A Campus Connector waits for pedestrians to cross the busy Pleasant Street crosswalk between Walter Library and Appleby Hall on Friday, Dec. 1.

Isabella Murray

The University of Minnesota recently ranked in the bottom half of a report on America’s safest college campuses. 

The National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked the University 199th in campus safety out of 243 American universities with over 10,000 students in its report released Tuesday.

Each school’s safety was measured by analyzing crimes reported by universities, including rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle theft and arsons. The schools were ranked 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.

Data from the Department of Education reflected incidents between 2014 and 2016, while the FBI’s UCR reflected data from January through June 2017.

The University’s Twin Cities campus saw eight violent crimes and 485 property crimes on a campus of 50,678, the report found.

The University of Minnesota Police Department, however, is skeptical of the data.

“It’s hard to determine how the rankings occurred,” said UMPD Chief Matt Clark. “There were some descriptions to it, but it was very hard to tell.”

Clark said the University’s high population and metro location should be accounted for when analyzing the ranking.

“We average anywhere from 10 to 20 violent crimes events on campus per year. The City of Minneapolis gets anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000,” Clark said. “Compared to our neighbors, we’re doing really well.”

While the University’s safety ranking was based off the past few years, the Minneapolis Police Department noticed a reduction in overall violent crime in 2017 in the Second Precinct where campus is located. 

“We had a reduction in homicide, sexual assault, robberies, aggravated assault,” said MPD Second Precinct Inspector Todd Loining. “We can hang our hat on success.”

The University’s ranking comes amid a recent spike in crime near campus.

There were 10 robberies in Minneapolis’ Second Precinct in the first week of February — more than double the amount that occurred in the same period last year. Two gunpoint robberies also occurred near campus in the latter half of January. 

Five robberies have occurred in Marcy-Holmes and two have occurred in Prospect Park so far this year, said Nick Juarez, MPD crime prevention specialist. 

Violent and property crime rates in the cities surrounding each school were also considered in the ranking, as well as the number of law enforcement officers employed by the institution per 1,000 students.