Rumor versus reality: has crime really ravaged UC Riverside?

Photo Credit: Lin Chai

Have you ever wondered where crime is the worst? Well, if you are unfamiliar with the college community of Isla Vista (a popular residence for UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students) then you will be surprised to know that said neighborhood has 394 crimes per square mile; the national median is 39.3. I mention this because of Business Insider’s new rankings for the most dangerous college campuses. If you are thinking that Riverside has to be on the list, it is, but the readers of this article should be happy to know that the University of California, Riverside was lower than some would have you believe. Our lovely little tertiary educational institution was placed at number 24 out of 25. UCLA topped the list with a solid numero uno position. Are these ratings accurate? Is Riverside actually a “dangerous school?” I have to believe that delinquency is the least of our worries, and with these rankings people will actually be more inclined to send their applications to the highly accredited University of California, Riverside.

The student population at UCR exceeds 20,000 students. The number of students affects the rankings by influencing the ratio of how many crimes are committed in relation to how many people there are. For instance, the 11 violent incidents per year and 360 property offenses are relatively small in comparison to Riverside’s resident population. Florida State University, Tallahassee was 25th on the list with 26 violent crimes per year, but this is with a student population of well above forty thousand. More people equal more crime, but the ratio is much smaller. The conclusion that can be made here is that Riverside’s crime is massively overrated; just ask the 11 who were convicted of the violent transgressions per 20,000 UCR students.

Which schools are more violent, then? Perhaps the University of the Pacific in Stockton? Well no, but only because private universities were not accounted for in this compilation of wrongdoing. Dartmouth, Princeton and even Yale rank among some of the worst private college campus in terms of security. These constantly boasted about and vastly-praised universities could be even more dangerous than my quaint home of Riverside. I would like to a see a list compiling a fair evaluation of all college campuses. I mean, come on, we all know USC would be a pack leader in crime statistics.

One aspect to take into account when going over Business Insider’s rankings is the police enforcement of the area. The data was compiled from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Uniform Crime Report,” which is composed of crime data per capita from the years 2008 to 2011. The data only came from universities with a student body of more than ten thousand and was averaged to show a combination of violent and property crimes. Take note that violent crimes were weighed “four times higher” and that “not all schools participate[d] in the survey.” When one puts these discrepancies aside it comes down to not just the statistics, but how these numbers are compiled. More specifically, how does the police force play a role? Students are probably familiar with the campus police that roam the walkways day and night. The UCR police department is not constrained to just the campus, however. In fact, the UC system is well-known for their campus cops because their jurisdiction extends farther than the student residences, despite common beliefs. The authority of this department actually extends into neighboring communities and the state. This results in the reporting of more crime because of non-student incidents that also occur. So UCR is not necessarily a “dangerous” community.

The conclusion here is that the rankings may define a school as “dangerous” in terms of these statistical analyses, but it does not mean that these colleges are deadly traps. People are still going to apply and attend these universities, especially ones that are sought after a great deal, such as the top three on this list—Duke, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. This means that people who are eager to be accepted to Riverside, or any UC, should not be deterred from applying just because of this list. The collection is based on student population, successful arrests and police jurisdiction. Just because an academe is deemed as “dangerous” does not make it a bad institution in any right. Looking at private schools also provides a much wider view and room for comparison.

UCR and UCLA have both rebuked the rankings and complained about their place on the list. I say that we should accept the rankings and prove to the nation that the schools under scrutiny will still rise to any occasion in academics, sports or otherwise. Despite this “dangerous” affiliation, the Riverside students know that walking about or stumbling around drunk at night is not a guaranteed kick-me sign.

The university e-mails students immediately when a crime has taken place, and there are even text messages sent just in case. Not only this, but there are also campus escorts, campus police, and huge blue crime prevention signals scattered around the campus. To prevent an assault or any other attack one just has to push a button.

So, is UCR “dangerous?” I am giving a strong no as my answer. In the meantime, I’ll be pointing and laughing at the students of the Business Insider’s number one ranked school, UCLA.

Facebook Comments