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Brandi Jewett, Forum Communications Co., Published June 19 2012

The Daily Beast: UND is ‘crime rattled’

GRAND FORKS – An online news and pop culture site has placed the University of North Dakota on its list of the nation’s top crime-ridden schools.

UND found itself at No. 23 on The Daily Beast’s list of America’s 25 Most Crime-Rattled Colleges. The list was based on the number of reported incidents for murders, negligent homicide, arson, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

“It’s an anomaly that we’re ranked where we are on the list,” said Peter Johnson, spokesman for UND.

From 2008 to 2010, UND saw no murders or robberies, one negligent manslaughter, two arsons, six motor vehicle thefts, 10 aggravated assaults and 51 burglaries, according to The Daily Beast’s data. There were discrepancies in the data as the UND Annual Security & Fire Safety Report states there were seven aggravated assaults and 44 burglaries.

Johnson also notes that the negligent homicide incident referred to in the reports was only included because it was university police that stopped a man off campus for running a red light. The man sped away from police and eventually crashed into another car, resulting in the death of two adults.

“The facts in this situation are different from other campuses,” Johnson said.

Creating the list

To determine the most crime-heavy schools, The Daily Beast started with a pool of about 500 four-year nonprofit private colleges and four-year public colleges with more than 6,000 students. It began comparing crime statistics it received from the U.S. Department of Education and narrowed down the list to 25 schools.

Each crime was weighted on a point system with burglary receiving the lowest point allocation and murder receiving the highest. Also considered in the rankings was the campus enrollment. With these numbers, per-capita ratios for each crime were calculated and used in determining the final list.

At the bottom of the list was Harvard, which reported one murder, 92 robberies, 87 aggravated assaults, 357 burglaries, 93 car thefts and no arsons in the same time period.

Also ranking below UND at No. 24 was Arkansas State University, which saw no negligent homicides or arsons, but did report one murder, two robberies, six aggravated assaults, eight vehicle thefts and 126 burglaries. ASU and UND have similar enrollment figures.

For Johnson, the numbers don’t add up.

“It’s an unfair representation of where UND fits in with other institutions,” he said. “Safety is one of our top priorities.”

Other rankings

No other North Dakota colleges and universities made The Daily Beast’s list, even though NDSU posted similar crime numbers. From 2008 to 2010, NDSU saw no murders, negligent homicides, robberies or arson.

The campus police department did report five aggravated assaults, eight car thefts and 40 burglaries.

Ranking at No. 1 on the list was the University of Alabama, Huntsville. From 2008 to 2010, UA – with an enrollment of 7,614 – reported three murders, four robberies, 10 aggravated assaults, 80 burglaries, eight car thefts and no arsons or negligent homicides.

Rounding out the top five were Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.; the University of San Francisco; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill., and the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Ark.

UND crime statistics


Murder: 0

Negligent homicide: 1

Burglary: 44*

Robbery: 0

Arson: 2

Aggravated assault: 7**

Vehicle theft: 6

*Listed as 51 by TheDailyBeast.com

**Listed as 10 by TheDailyBeast.com

Source: UND Annual Security & Fire Safety Report

Jewett writes for the Grand Forks Herald

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