Massachusetts has some of the best colleges and universities in the country. When parents send their kids off to college for the first time, they may be more concerned that their teenagers won't be studying enough, or maybe partying too much. However, crime statistics indicate that students have to worry about crime as well, just as if they were in any other city or town.
Using crime data available through the Clery Act, a law firm has created an interactive map to see how national universities stack up in relation to crime on campus. The Clery Act requires schools to publish campus crime statistics as a condition to receive federal funding. The Act was implemented after a backlash against unreported crimes on campus. It was named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986.
The map allows users to compare crime reporting across a number of criminal charges, including burglary, aggravated assault and sexual assault. Boston University had the state's most crimes reported, with 198. In comparison, Wellesley College experiences Massachusetts's lowest crime rate, with only 22 incidents reported. Brandeis fared nearly as well, with 25 reported incidents. Still, three California schools reported far more crimes than any Massachusetts school. Stanford led the country with 517 total crimes, with UCLA and UC Berkeley also making the top five list.
The information can also be found in each college's Clery disclosure, sometimes called a campus security report. BU reported 159 burglary incidents, while Brandeis reported only 16. However, it was Harvard with the most robberies reported at 10. Wellesley, Smith and Mount Holyoke College reported zero aggravated assaults on campus, while Tufts University reported 11.
More recently, the sexual assault on campus has been an issue of national significance. In December, the U.S. Senate held hearings on the issue of campus sexual assault, and the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement. Much of the discussion centered on the problem that only some of college sexual assault victims report the crimes to the police. This would indicate that the numbers reported represent only a fraction of these campus sexual assault numbers.
BostInno reports that Harvard has the highest number of forcible sex offenses in the country, with 83 reported offenses. Amherst College follows with 45, while at the other end, Brandeis and Mount Holyoke reported only three and five, respectively. Harvard is already one of a number of universities under investigation by the Department of Education for their handling of sexual assault reports on campus. Discrepancies and under reporting of sexual assault crimes has increased scrutiny at a number of colleges.
Not waiting for an official response, some students have taken it upon themselves to promote sexual assault awareness. Students from Harvard, Tufts, Northeastern and Boston University are behind the website called This is NOT OK Boston. The campaign calls itself "a community movement which aims to amplify the voices of survivors, activists and community members doing sexual assault response and prevention work"