Although the heat of the summer is in full force, fall is just around the corner, and that means a new wave of students will be moving to campus to start their college journeys.
While admission acceptance, major selection, and location are some of the main things high school graduates consider when choosing their college, safety could play a role as well.
To help bring awareness and support students’ decision-making, YourLocalSecurity.com has ranked the 25 safest college campuses across the country for the fifth year in a row. In this list, you’ll find textbook examples of what campus safety looks like from the schools that do it best. Along with our recommendations for keeping yourself safe as a new college student linked here, here is the most up-to-date information for the safest schools for higher learning for 2021.
The Stats on the Facts
YourLocalSecurity.com has tracked the safest school campuses since 2016 using official data collected from the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security and the FBI’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report. Data is gathered from a span of three years rather than a year-by-year basis. Therefore, the data in this study comes from information between 2017–2019.
Note that schools that ranked in previous reports may not be present in this or future reports due to not providing crime information for a given year.
We narrowed down our study to campuses that fall into the following categories: public, private, or non-profit institutions which have a minimum of 5,000 students and offer a two- or four-year degree.
Out of the 1,000 colleges that met the criteria, we focused on the 395 schools that submitted crime information to the FBI. We then evaluated safety results based on the following factors to find the school’s overall crime rate.
For each crime factor, the rate reported has been compared against the population per 10,000 people within the city limits. The lower the rate, the lower the number of crimes reported in that category:
- Violent crimes per 10,000 people
- Property crimes per 10,000 people
- Hate + Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) per 10,000 people
Top 25 Safest College Campuses in the US
- Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City, NY)
The Fashion Institute of Technology, also known as FIT, reigns at the number one spot for safest campuses in 2021. Boasting a student body of almost 9,000, the FIT community earned its way to the top with a 5.7 for violent crimes, 14.6 for property, and 1.0 for hate/VAWA crimes.
FIT takes their student safety to the next level with security officers patrolling each academic building and residence hall all year round.
- Touro College (New York City, NY)
A second representative for the state of New York (and New York City in particular), Touro College ranked second, scoring a rate of 5.7 for violent crimes (tying with FIT), 14.6 for property crimes, and 1.4 for Hate/VAWA crimes.
Touro College employs professional security guard services to keep their students safe during their higher-education experience.
- Pace University (New York City, NY)
Pace’s NYC campus ties with Touro and FIT for property and violent crime rates, but lands in third place with a Hate/VAWA rate of 1.6. However, an overall score of 21.9 is something to be proud of.
Along with security personnel providing on-site safety, Pace University offers students access to the PaceSafe app, which offers an immediate connection to the Safety and Security Office plus real-time emergency alerts.
- The City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College (New York City, NY)
Even with its large student body size (23K students), CUNY Hunter College still maintains high safety standards, with the highest crime rate coming in at a low 2.8 for Hate/VAWA per 10,000 people.
On top of impressive ratings, CUNY also provides up-to-date protocols for situations such as an active shooter and access to the My-EOP app, which provides a quick reference to the school’s Emergency Operating Procedures.
- Columbia University in the City of New York (New York City, NY)
Columbia University is no stranger to ranking for safest college campuses. Along with ranking sixth on our 2021 list, Columbia ranked fifth place among the top 10 safest campuses in New York in our 2020 study.
In response to the school’s safety ranking last year, Vice President for Public Safety James McShane said, “The ranking speaks to the efforts of our Public Safety staff and officers and the Columbia community as a whole.”
- New York University (New York City, NY)
Rounding out New York City’s notable monopoly of the top six rankings, New York University ties with the first five place winners with violent crime rates at 5.7 and property crime rates at 14.6. NYU also had a hate/VAWA rate of 3.8.
NYU is one of the few schools on our list that offers its students access to a Daily Crime Log. Faculty and students alike can see real-time crime info as reported by the NYU Department of Public Safety.
- University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Home of the fighting Torero, this non-profit institution brings sunshine and safety with crime rate stats low in both violent (3.6) and hate/VAWA (6.4) and property crime rate of 18.8.
The University of San Diego takes extra measures to ensure student safety by offering a public safety escort for students to utilize from dawn until dusk in a one-mile radius of campus property.
- University of Massachusetts-Boston (Boston, MA)
Heading back to the east coast, the University of Massachusetts-Boston is the first college on our list to have a property crime rate at zero. However, the hate/VAWA crime rate came in at 22.9 per 10,000 people and landed this UMass extension in eighth place.
UMass-Boston takes its crime-stopping seriously with its Massachusetts Campus Watch Program, where students, faculty, staff, and visitors can be involved with active crime prevention. The program encourages suspicious activity to be reported to campus law enforcement.
- Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
In contrast to UMass-Boston, Loyola Marymount University boasts one of the lowest hate/VAWA crime reporting rates at 2.4 per 10,000 people. With an overall score of 33.6, LMU knows how to take care of its student body of almost 10,000 students.
Along with the presence of security officers, Loyola Marymount University provides a Public Safety Student Ambassador program where student representatives foster dialogue and relations between officers and the student body.
- California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
California State University, Los Angeles, otherwise known as Cal State LA, scores similar to neighboring school LMU when it comes to violent crime (7.3) and property crime (23.8), but scores a 6.6 for hate/VAWA crime rates and takes 10th place.
For this LA-based campus, a more considerable student body requires a more extensive security program. Cal State LA provides security support in the form of crime alerts, emergency notification systems, and on-campus safety personnel.
- Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
Boston knows how to handle its property crime. Northeastern University is the second school on our list with an impressive zero-rating—the first being fellow Boston institution, the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Northeastern scored a 31.8 rating for hate/VAWA and 7.3 for violent crimes bringing it to 11th place.
Northeastern University takes violence against women and men crime prevention to the next level with an entire resource center dedicated to sexual violence.
- Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)
The first appearance of a midwest school, Columbia College, comes in with impressive numbers. Both violent crime and hate/VAWA boast lower rates of 9.4 and 2.6 per 10,000 people.
With a student body of almost 7,000, Columbia College knows prevention is key. The school provides a 24-hour security command center which provides dispatching capabilities, video surveillance monitoring, and quick access to emergency personnel.
- Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA)
Regent University has a very low 1.3 violent crime rate which is the lowest on our list for the top 25 safest campuses. Property crime rate comes in at 17.6 and hate/VAWA crime rate 23.1 for a total of 42.0.
While Regent landed 13th on our list, Niche’s 2021 College Rankings recognized Regent University in the safest college campuses for Virginia.
- Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago, IL)
For those looking to attend college in the Prairie State, Northeastern Illinois University had a relatively low 9.4 rating in violent crimes and an even lower number of hate/VAWA crimes at 2.7. Only the property crime rate brought its rank down with a 29.8 rating.
Northeastern Illinois University employs its own police department consisting of about 20 police officers who provide safety for students 24/7 all year long.
- University of California-Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
With a growing student body of over 40,000 paired with the large population of Los Angeles, the University of California, Los Angeles, aka UCLA, has more than inspiring graduation rates. UCLA slides into our top 25 with a low violent crime rate of 7.3, a hate/VAWA crime rate of 11.1, and property crime rate of 23.8.
Keeping a student body of that size safe is no small feat, but UCLA makes it look easy. With a dedicated police department, evening safety escorts, and van services to take students around campus, this school takes security seriously.
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
The University of Southern California is also making waves in California when it comes to campus safety. Violent crime rates come in at a low 7.3, property crime rate of 23.8, and a hate/VAWA crime rate of 12.0 for a total of 43.4.
This private research university takes to the web to keep its students safe. USC students have access to the school’s free mobile safety app, which provides a way to report suspicious activity anonymously, and provides a tracking service called SafeWalk so your friends can monitor your progress home.
- Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
The Lone Star State lassos 17th place with Texas Christian University in our top 25 list for safest campuses. TCU ranks with stats that include a violent crime rate of 4.4, a property crime rate of 26.9, and a hate/VAWA crime rate of 12.1. With Fort Worth’s population at almost 916,000, that’s pretty noteworthy.
Texas Christian University takes to empowering its student body with knowledge to keep its campus safe. Students are offered various training for crime prevention, including L.E.S.S. (Lockdown, Evacuate, Seek Shelter) is More and a public safety training course.
- Aurora University (Aurora, IL)
Aurora University proves its safety with the second-lowest violent crime rate of 2.6. Only Regent University in Virginia was lower. Property crime came in at a rate of 10.1 and hate/VAWA at a rate of 31.3 for a total of 43.9, which puts this suburban school in 18th place.
Administrators at Aurora help keep students safe by supplying public safety tips on their campus safety site. They explain how to report suspicious activity and provide contact information for security personnel.
- The University of Tampa (Tampa, FL)
The Sunshine State is represented by The University of Tampa in 19th place. With a city population of over 40,000, UT scores a rate of 4.0 for violent crime, a rate of 24.1 for hate/VAWA, and a rate of 16.3 for property crime.
To help students feel safe going to and from classes, The University of Tampa provides a service called LASER (Law Abiding Students Ever Ready) Team. Students who prefer not to walk alone can call the escort service and have company—either walking or motorized—while traveling to their destination.
- Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
With a student body of over 17,150, Loyola University Chicago takes campus safety in stride with hate/VAWA at a low rate of 6.3, violent crime rates at 9.4, and only property crime reaching double digits at a rate of 29.8.
Part of Loyola’s dedication to safety includes helping students find accountability in security personnel. As part of the Integrity Card initiative, Campus Safety officers will now carry cards with their information which a Loyola student can request after any interaction.
- University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Chicago boasts a population of over two million residents, but still manages to land six schools on our list for safest campuses. Bringing in the 21st spot is the University of Chicago, with a crime rate total of 45.7 (violence: 9.4, property: 29.8, and hate/VAWA: 6.5).
The University of Chicago follows the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act which compels the university to provide resources that inform both students and staff of security matters that could affect the community. To meet these requirements, UC provides an Annual Security & Fire report, a daily crime log, security alerts, and emergency notifications.
- San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
Idyllic weather isn’t the only thing you can enjoy at San Diego State University (SDSU). Our 23rd spot for the country’s top 25 safest campuses falls to SDSU for its rate of 3.6 for violent crimes, 18.8 for property crimes, and 24.7 for hate/VAWA crimes.
SDSU puts safety back into the hands of their students by offering Personal Safety & Awareness workshops where students can learn defensive techniques against sexual assault. The school also provides emergency “blue light” duress phones throughout campus.
- DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
The Windy City’s final representative comes in strong with DePaul University. This campus ranked 23rd with stats that include a violent crime rate of 9.4, a hate/VAWA crime rate of 8.2, and a property crime rate of 29.8.
DePaul keeps its students safe with such security safeguards as community area cameras, onsite safety officers, escort safety services, and emergency communication alert systems.
- Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
Southern Methodist University’s slogan is “World Changers Shaped Here,” but it appears they’re also kept safe there. SMU scored 24th place for our safest college campuses list with a rate of 8.6 for violent crimes, 8.7 for hate/VAWA crimes, and 29.8 for property crimes.
This Texas university provides dedicated police officers that patrol the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also offer self-defense training, and similar to The University of Chicago, they follow the guidelines of the Clery Act.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI)
The beautiful island of Honolulu brings in our final-ranked school. The University of Hawaii at Manoa lands at the 25th spot for its crime ratings that include a violent crime rate of 2.7, a property crime rate of 30.0, and a hate/VAWA of 18.0 for a total of 50.7.
Along with campus security and anonymous reporting, UH Manoa also provides students with a Manoa Guardian smartphone app. Manoa Guardian gives quick access to security personnel, up-to-date emergency information, and a Safety Timer that notifies security or trusted individuals that you are walking alone.
The Safest College by State
|Alabama||Auburn University at Montgomery|
|Alaska||University of Alaska Anchorage|
|Arizona||Pima Community College|
|Arkansas||University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|California||University of San Diego|
|Connecticut||University of Bridgeport|
|Delaware||University of Delaware|
|Florida||The University of Tampa|
|Georgia||Clayton State University|
|Hawaii||University of Hawaii at Manoa|
|Idaho||North Idaho College|
|Illinois||Columbia College Chicago|
|Indiana||Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne|
|Iowa||Hawkeye Community College|
|Kansas||Wichita State University|
|Kentucky||University of Kentucky|
|Louisiana||University of New Orleans|
|Maine||University of New England|
|Maryland||Loyola University Maryland|
|Massachusetts||University of Massachusetts-Boston|
|Minnesota||University of Minnesota-Duluth|
|Mississippi||Jackson State University|
|Missouri||University of Missouri-Kansas City|
|Montana||The University of Montana|
|Nevada||University of Nevada-Reno|
|New Hampshire||Dartmouth College|
|New Jersey||New Jersey Institute of Technology|
|New Mexico||New Mexico State University-Main Campus|
|New York||Fashion Institute of Technology|
|North Carolina||North Carolina Central University|
|North Dakota||North Dakota State University-Main Campus|
|Oklahoma||University of Central Oklahoma|
|Oregon||Portland State University|
|Pennsylvania||University of Scranton|
|Rhode Island||Johnson & Wales University-Providence|
|South Carolina||College of Charleston|
|South Dakota||South Dakota State University|
|Tennessee||Austin Peay State University|
|Texas||Texas Christian University|
|Utah||University of Utah|
|Vermont||University of Vermont|
|Washington||Seattle Central College|
|West Virginia||Marshall University|
|Wyoming||University of Wyoming|
YourLocalSecurity.com, partner of SafeStreets—an ADT Authorized Provider—aims to provide the security tools and information needed to build a safer home environment. For media inquiries, please contact email@example.com
To see if your alumni or favorite school ranked in previous years, check out our past reports for 2019 and 2020.