The National Council for Home Safety and Security recently released a list of the safest college campuses in the United States — with UC Berkeley ranked close to last, at 209 out of 243.
The council, which aims to increase industry and public knowledge of home safety and security, used the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and from the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security Survey. Nearly all accredited U.S. colleges were surveyed, except for those with fewer than 10,000 students and those that did not provide a “significant” amount of data.
“Each school’s safety score was calculated by analyzing crimes reported by universities, including rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle theft and arsons,” according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security website.
The report also measured school safety scores based on the number of crimes committed in the city where the school was located, as well as the number of law enforcement officers per 1,000 students.
UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said the UC Berkeley campus is situated in the middle of an urban environment that is not separated from the rest of the community. As a result, she said, recent upticks in local crime may have trickled down and affected UC Berkeley’s ranking.
Reich cited an increase in student enrollment and a “sprawling” campus as possible causes for UC Berkeley’s low score.
The police department has been implementing a series of changes to improve campus safety, according to Reich. UCPD has been changing staffing schedules to increase the number of officers on each shift and will continue conducting safety patrols on the south side of campus in partnership with Berkeley Police Department, or BPD.
UCPD also issues crime alerts in addition to safety tips, and it encourages students to use free night safety services such as the BearWALK safety escort. According to Reich, UCPD has doubled the size its student community service officer staff in response to an increased number of requests for BearWALKs.
“(UC Berkeley) is situated in a densely populated, urban environment, where crime remains a challenge,” Reich said in an email. “Student safety is our top concern, and we will continue to implement crime reduction strategies that reduce the incidence and fear of crime.”