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Most Common On-Campus Criminal Offenses

Most college students want to believe that their college campus is a safe, secure environment where they are free to learn and have fun without the threat of serious danger. Unfortunately, crime on college campuses is a reality that far too many students have to contend with. The Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education collects annual information on a variety of crimes that occur on college campuses each year. While these reports include all alleged crimes, the statistics are shocking in some respects.

At public, 4-year (or more) institutions with 10,000+ students, the most commonly reported criminal offense in recent years was burglary, with 6,712 burglaries reported in 2011, down from 7,241 the year before. These ratings are for on-campus events only, so these numbers do not reflect burglaries or alleged burglaries that take place in off campus student housing, like apartment complexes.

A far distant second to burglaries, motor vehicle theft is the second most reported criminal offense on college campuses of the above-mentioned size, with 1,349 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2011, up from 1,336 in 2010.

Finally, the third most commonly-reported criminal offense on college campuses is forced sexual assault, with 1,153 reported in 2011, which is a slight increase from 1,038 in 2010.

Depending on the offense at hand, crimes that occur on college campuses can be dealt with in a number of ways. For more serious criminal offenses like those listed above, non-campus law enforcement is often involved, and most of the individuals accused of these crimes will need to secure the assistance of a criminal lawyer to defend them.

However, for some smaller offenses, individuals may not need to secure outside legal representation, as the matter may be dealt with on-campus. Many large universities have student courts that deal with on-campus offenses, and for some offenses, students will simply represent themselves in front of this organization if charged with an offense.

Some crimes on campus are more severe and require higher authority. Campus police and courts can only handle cases to an extent.If your case needs more attention, you or your peer may need to speak with a lawyer about your legal options and the upcoming steps to seek out compensation. A criminal attorney from your state may be able to answer any questions that may arise from your situation. Seeking out the legal guidance for these type of situations may be helpful.


Most Crime-Riddled Schools in the U.S.

In June of 2012, The Daily Beast put together a list of the most crime-riddled colleges in the United States, looking at data from 2008 to 2010 that included the school’s enrollment, numbers of murders, negligent homicides, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, car thefts, and arson occurring at these schools.

Schools from the east coast to the west coast made their way onto this list, with schools in both extremely large cities and smaller, rural areas making their way into the top 25.

Topping the list was the University of Alabama, Huntsville. In the years cited, the school had an enrollment of 7,614 and 3 murders, 80 burglaries, 8 car thefts, and 10 aggravated assaults. Joining the University of Alabama in the top five were Johnson & Wales University (Providence, RI), the University of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA), Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL), and the University of Central Arkansas (Conway, AR).

With a recent shooting at a Houston-area community college, schools across the country are taking steps to reduce crime on their campuses and keep students safe. In fact, some states, like Texas, are considering changing their policies to allow either faculty members to carry weapons on campus or to have armed guards at schools in an attempt to deter gun violence, or end an incident should one begin. Although guns are not allowed on college campuses at the current time, a bill might come before the Texas legislature this session that could change this rule.

Taking action against the parties responsible for committing crimes on college campuses can be a difficult endeavor, as responsibility can lie with several different parties. In many cases, universities have their own disciplinary systems in place to deal with crimes committed by students, and students represent themselves when accused of dangerous or criminal offenses. In other instances, if a student-committed crime is particularly egregious, or if the perpetrator of a crime on campus is not a student, that individual will usually be turned over to the authorities and will have to contact a criminal lawyer for their defense.

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Larry Benneth+