Campus safety is a growing concern for individuals considering opportunities for higher education. No matter what academic field they pursue, students deserve to live and learn in a safe environment. The responsibility for campus safety falls on each college, with many of the best schools aligning with local law enforcement to create an optimal setting and quality college experience for students and faculty.
As home security advocates, we know the importance of feeling safe wherever you live—and for many students, college is a home away from home. To help hopeful students and educators find the right college for them, the team at Your Local Security assembled data on the safest schools in America, using a methodology that accounts for school size, type of crimes, student surveys, and other relevant data. See our findings below.
The data used for this article was provided by studies from the US Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security analysis and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. We looked at the main campuses of public, private, and non-profit colleges that offer two- and four-year degrees and have at least 5,000 students. Schools with insufficient data (Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Wyoming) weren’t included in this report.
435 total schools met our required criteria for this study, and we considered four main factors to determine campus safety: hate crimes per enrolled students, violence against women per enrolled females, property crime per population, and violent crime per population. These factors were calculated based on every 1,000 students, females, or residents in each location. Reported hate crimes, instances of violence against women, and violent crime made up 90% of the final score. Interestingly, 16 of the schools on our list reported zero hate crimes or instances of violence against women.
The 25 Safest Colleges
- Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, OH)
Founded in 1967, this two-year public college tops our list thanks to a combination of on-campus safety and an overall low-crime community. Lakeland’s campus police force works closely with the city police, creating a cohesive security team that operates in lockstep rather than as two separate divisions. Among the 7,581 enrolled students, there were zero reported hate crimes and instances of violence against women.
- Benedictine University (Lisle, IL)
This private Catholic college’s main campus calls Lisle, Illinois, home. Benedictine’s security staff is trained in law enforcement and crime prevention. Services offered for students include 24-hour safety escorts, vehicle jumpstarts and unlocks, and dorm room unlocks.
- Foothill College (Los Alto Hills, CA)
Despite an enrollment of over 15,000 students, Foothill College boasts one of the lowest violent crimes per capita (0.23) of all the schools we profiled. All campus officers are fully trained, sworn professionals and there is a department base on campus.
- University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, KY)
As a growing college, University of the Cumberlands has maintained an excellent record of campus safety, even though its 2018 enrollment topped over 10,000 students. While a majority of students come from the Appalachian region, the school has a strong commitment to diversifying the student body by offering online courses to international applicants.
- West Texas A&M University (Canyon, TX)
With an emphasis on students from the Texas Panhandle, West Texas A&M University and regional communities work together to ensure a safe environment on campus. As a result, students can feel equally safe in class and in local towns.
- Millersville University of Pennsylvania (Millersville, PA)
Millersville puts its safety initiatives front and center on its website. Besides trained officers around the clock, Millersville provides counselors, a Behavioral Intervention Team, and a campus-specific safety app.
- Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, CA)
This two-year public school is known for its generous veterans enrollment program and diverse range of educational opportunities. Saddleback also offers community programs, such as TED talks, that help merge students and the world around them. This school also reported zero hate crimes and zero cases of violence against women.
- College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL)
The College of DuPage offers robust student life opportunities to help keep students engaged between studies. With over 26,000 enrolled students, this two-year school’s on-campus safety is exceptional: there were no reports of violence against women, and violent crimes per capita were under 1 (0.71, specifically).
- Moorpark College (Moorpark, CA)
Personal safety and freedom from harassment are cornerstones to Moorpark’s philosophy on student life. Alongside a professionally trained campus police force, this two-year public school sets high standards in academics and quality of life for its student body.
- Oakland University (Rochester, MI)
Oakland University is a fully accredited, four-year school with low-crime rates. Student life has a strong emphasis on camaraderie and intramural activities, while professionally trained campus police help protect that lifestyle; the school’s safety reports even offer a level of transparency not found at many other universities.
- American Public University System (Charles Town, WV)
Known for its various programs for military personnel and aspiring leaders, American had the highest enrollment of our top-25 schools—over, 46,400 students. Despite a large student body, on-campus safety has stayed relatively low: no reported hate crimes or violence against women, and a 0.66 violent crimes per capita rate.
- Brandman University (Irvine, CA)
Brandman caters to military vets, but it also offers programs for the public. The main campus reported excellent safety numbers, though community crime stats slightly lowered Brandman’s overall ranking. This decrease should be taken with a grain of salt, as the community of over 276,000 was the largest by more than double of any other top-25 school.
- Robert Morris University (Moon Township, PA)
This school’s founding namesake was a trusted companion of George Washington. He was also a pioneering American Patriot whose signature can be found on the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Robert Morris University came into being in 1935 and has a long history of academic success to go along with its well-earned reputation for safety.
- Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, KY)
Northern Kentucky University has been listed as one of the safest college environments for many years thanks to its dedicated police force. Outreach between the college and local law enforcement has created a community where students can request a police escort at any time.
- Oakton Community College (Des Plaines, IL)
Oakton’s student body is protected by one of the best-trained campus police forces in the nation, and the college regularly finds itself on top safety lists. Officers provide safety escorts, help with locked cars, and patrol areas around the clock.
- Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Clarion, PA)
Clarion began as a seminary in 1867, growing to include standard college courses in 1887. Today, the Western Pennsylvanian campus is a safe place for students to further their education in business, education, health, and science.
- Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT)
Though a relatively young school (it was founded in 1942), Fairfield carries the tradition of Jesuit educational values. Twenty-nine full-time officers provide security 24/7 and will provide an escort, as well as many other preventative safety services, at any time.
- Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
Sacred Heart, a Catholic counterpart to Fairfield University, prioritizes students’ safety and has the record to prove it. Within campus boundaries, no instances of violence against women or hate crimes were reported and the violent crime per capita rate was 0.37.
- Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (Shippensburg, PA)
Shippensburg has been around since 1873, and its centralized location between many large northeast cities draws a diverse group of students. The school has taken a strong stance in promoting women’s safety as part of its commitment to campus security.
- Triton College (River Grove, IL)
Triton is a two-year public school that serves students in the Chicago metro area. Small class sizes and affordable tuition costs help make it a popular choice for students pursuing an associate’s degree or hoping to transfer to a four-year college down the road. Low crime rates are an added incentive for those wanting to study outside of Chicago proper.
- Eastern Arizona College (Thatcher, AZ)
Eastern Arizona College is not only one of the safest colleges in the country but also one of the best values. Small differences such as no application fees go hand in hand with affordable tuition to help students reach their higher education goals. On campus, EAC would rank second on this list if we only looked within campus boundaries—zero hate crimes and cases of violence against women and a 0.2 violent crimes per capita rate were reported. Its ranking is hampered by modest property crimes per capita (16.82) in the community.
- Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Princeton was founded in 1696 and has created a legacy of academic excellence. Princeton’s security department takes an active role in protection and proactive campus safety, creating a premier—and safe—learning environment. It’s also the only Ivy League school to appear on our list this year.
- Eastern Illinois University (Charleston, IL)
EIU is one of the highest regarded regional schools. The school’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere, paired with a dedicated police force and strong community ties, makes it an appealing destination for academics looking for a safe learning environment.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA)
UMass Amherst is a public school with a strong academic reputation. On-campus safety measures include crime prevention workshops, counseling, and around-the-clock security forces. One of the more interesting programs is the UMass Men and Masculinity Center, aimed at educating, supporting, and challenging male students to develop healthy aspects of masculinity.
- McHenry County College (Crystal Lake, IL)
McHenry is a two-year school that focuses on trade and professional career paths. Campus police offer a variety of services to protect and help students, including escorts and safety programs for the community.
Safest College in Each State
Some students want to attend school in their home states. Others are eager to leave and explore a new place for their academic growth. Whichever option they choose, they can find each state’s safest college in this list, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Wyoming, who did not provide sufficient data for this report:
|Alabama||George C. Wallace State Community College Hanceville|
|Arizona||Eastern Arizona College|
|Arkansas||NorthWest Arkansas Community College|
|Colorado||Colorado School of Mines|
|Delaware||University of Delaware|
|Florida||Northwest Florida State College|
|Georgia||Gwinnett Technical College|
|Idaho||University of Idaho|
|Indiana||Purdue University-Main Campus|
|Iowa||University of Iowa|
|Kansas||Johnson County Community College|
|Kentucky||Elizabethtown Community and Technical College|
|Louisiana||Nicholls State University|
|Maine||University of New England|
|Maryland||Bowie State University|
|Massachusetts||University of Massachusetts-Amherst|
|Minnesota||Minnesota State University Moorhead|
|Mississippi||University of Southern Mississippi|
|Missouri||University of Central Missouri|
|Montana||Montana State University|
|Nevada||College of Southern Nevada|
|New Hampshire||Southern New Hampshire University|
|New Jersey||Princeton University|
|New Mexico||Central New Mexico Community College|
|New York||SUNY Cortland|
|North Dakota||University of North Dakota|
|Ohio||Lakeland Community College|
|Oklahoma||University of Central Oklahoma|
|Oregon||Western Oregon University|
|Pennsylvania||Millersville University of Pennsylvania|
|Rhode Island||Johnson & Wales University-Providence|
|South Carolina||Clemson University|
|South Dakota||South Dakota State University|
|Tennessee||The University of Tennessee-Martin|
|Texas||West Texas A & M University|
|Utah||Utah State University|
|Vermont||University of Vermont|
|West Virginia||American Public University System|
|Wisconsin||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater|
While campus security can provide peace of mind, personal security goes far beyond the classroom. For students living off campus, home security systems can help prevent break-ins, and smart technology such as doorbell cameras and remote locks make life that much safer. Academics will always be at the heart of college selection, but campus and personal safety can ensure a more secure and rewarding educational experience.
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