Online Tool Helps Determine Colleges' Safety

Database compares schools' crime reports

Many high school seniors are paying extra attention to the mail these days:  April 1st is when many colleges and universities start sending out acceptance letters for their freshman class for next fall.  High school students have just weeks to commit to a school by National College Decision Day on May 1st. 

For many students – and even more likely their parents – one factor in that decision may well be a campus’ emphasis on safety and security.  Most schools make a point of highlighting their safety programs, which often include special emergency-notification systems and late-night transportation services.  But some level of campus crime is simply a fact of life, no matter how much a college does to ramp up its safety features.

The United States Department of Education has a versatile, interactive tool which offers raw, objective information on a school’s safety record: The Office of Postsecondary Education’s Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool allows you to search for all kinds of school crime information online by state, by type of institution, by the size of the school, or by its instructional programs.

Even more useful: You can zero in on one campus’s last three years of crime statistics, or download the complete crime-data files for one or more schools, or even compare several schools’ crime and fire numbers side-by-side – which may be especially handy if you or your child needs an extra nudge to narrow down those last few top choices to one final school.

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