Campus Crime 2015: Top 10 Highest Reported Crime Rates for Small Colleges

By  | 

Student safety is a high priority for all colleges and universities. While colleges and universities are typically safer than the areas that surround them, many schools face important and unique challenges. Law Street’s Campus Crime Rankings were created to serve as a comprehensive look at the safety of our college campuses, and to act as a resource for students, families, and college communities.

Federal law requires all postsecondary institutions that receive federal financial aid to report and monitor criminal offenses on their campuses. Each year this self-reported data is published by the Department of Education to help colleges and their communities understand the safety challenges that they face. Law Street Campus Crime Rankings utilize the most recent three years of this data to determine the average violent crime rate per 1,000 students for each school with available statistics.

Our rankings break up schools into different categories to ensure that the comparisons are as helpful and fair as possible. This list ranks small schools, which include four-year institutions with enrollments between 1,500 to 10,000 students.


Click here to see the data used to create these rankings. 

Check out the Top 10 Highest Crime Rates on Small Campuses below:

Prev1 of 10Next

#1 Highest Crime Rate: Swarthmore College

Image courtesy of Fritz Ward via Flickr

Image courtesy of Fritz Ward via Flickr

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, which sits about 11 miles outside of Philadelphia. Swarthmore had an average violent crime rate of 22.60 violent crimes per 1,000 students between 2011 and 2013, giving it the highest violent crime rate among all small colleges. The vast majority of reported crimes at Swarthmore are forcible sex offenses, which make up more than 95 percent of the school’s violent crimes.

In 2013, concerns about the school’s sexual assault policies led the college to hire an independent investigator to review its procedures. Several Swarthmore students also filed a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education claiming that their school mishandled several sexual assault cases. The complaint eventually led to an investigation by the Department of Education. Later that year, President Rebecca Chopp announced sweeping changes to the way the school handles sexual assault cases. Swarthmore hired a full-time Title IX coordinator and took several steps to improve its policies, training, and prevention efforts. To correct past reporting errors, the school reported a total of 89 forcible sexual offenses in 2013* (more than four times as many as the previous two years). While sexual assault remains a significant issue at Swarthmore, the dramatic increase in 2013 most likely reflects changes in the school’s reporting practices rather than a spike in actual incidents of sexual assault.

Fall 2013 Enrollment: 1,534 (all undergraduate)
Average Violent Crime Rate: 22.60 per 1,000 students
Murder: 0
Forcible Sex Offense: 99
Robbery: 1
Aggravated Assault: 4
Campus Setting: Suburb (Large)
*Swarthmore reported a total of 89 forcible sexual assaults in 2013 to correct errors in previous years’ statistics. Eleven of these incidents occurred prior to 2010. As a result, only 78 were included in the average violent crime rate calculation, as the rankings are only based on incidents that happened between 2011 and 2013.

-Campus crime statistics are three year totals from 2011, 2012, and 2013
-The average violent crime rate is an average of the three-year data shown as a rate per 1,000 students

Click here to see the methodology used for the rankings.

Research and analysis done by Law Street’s Crime in America team:
Kevin Rizzo, Kwame Apea, Jennie Burger, Alissa Gutierrez, and Maurin Mwombela.

Editor’s Note: This slide has been updated to more clearly reflect the chronology of the 2013 Title IX complaint. 

Kevin Rizzo
Kevin Rizzo is the Crime in America Editor at Law Street Media. An Ohio Native, the George Washington University graduate is a founding member of the company. Contact Kevin at



Send this to friend