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On-Campus Crime Fast Facts and Statistics

Posted on June 19, 2023 in On-Campus Crime

Every year, thousands of on-campus crimes are reported to college and city police departments, many of which result in arrests. These crimes may involve students, professors, faculty members, administrators or strangers that enter campus. They can take place in parking lots, dorm rooms, classrooms or stadiums. A review of the most recent available statistics can help put on-campus crime in perspective, both nationally and on a statewide level in Arizona.

on-campus crime in arizona

On-Campus Crimes: Recent Trends and Data

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a total of 27,300 college criminal incidents were reported to police and security agencies in 2019. This equates to about 18.7 on-campus crimes per 10,000 full-time equivalent students. From 2009 to 2019, the number of on-campus crimes decreased by 20 percent nationwide, with the exception of forcible sex offenses. These offenses are defined as “any sexual act directed against another person forcibly and/or against the person’s will.”

The number of reports involving on-campus sexual offenses has increased in the last 10 years. In 2019, 74 nonforcible sex offenses were reported, up from 65 in 2009. The number of forcible sex offenses reported on campus increased by 363 percent: from 2,500 in 2009 to 11,800 in 2019. Note, however, that the reporting guidelines for forcible sexual offenses changed in 2014, contributing to this increase. The number of reported forcible sex offenses on campus decreased by 5 percent from 2018 to 2019.

What Are the Most Common Types of On-Campus Crimes Reported?

Data from 2019 shows that forcible sex offenses accounted for 43 percent of all college crimes reported, with 11,800 incidents. Other top crimes were burglaries (33 percent), motor vehicle thefts (11 percent), aggravated assaults (8 percent) and robberies (3 percent). Here’s a breakdown of common crimes that occur on college campuses across the country: 

  • Sexual assault: intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact without the consent of the other person. This may involve nonconsensual touching of the private parts (including a female’s breast), penetration, rape, attempted rape, drug-induced sex crimes, sodomy or intimate partner sexual assault.
  • Theft, robbery or burglary: theft means knowingly using or taking someone else’s property without lawful authority. Robbery refers to theft that involves the use of force or threats. Burglary means to enter a structure or property unlawfully with intent to commit theft or any other felony. Motor vehicle theft is an especially common on-campus crime
  • Physical assault: intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another person or placing the person in reasonable apprehension of imminent harm. Assault can be simple or aggravated. Aggravated assault is a more severe charge, and involves circumstances such as the use of a deadly weapon or serious bodily injuries.
  • Drug and alcohol crimes: crimes involving drug use, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, the sale or distribution of drugs, underage drinking, or drinking and driving are commonly reported on college campuses.

Other less commonly reported on-campus crimes include harassment, stalking, arson, negligent manslaughter and murder. College campus crimes may involve hazing, or initiation rituals often used in college sports, clubs, fraternities and sororities. In 2019, 757 on-campus crimes reported were classified as hate crimes, meaning they were motivated by a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or another protected class. The most common hate crimes were intimidation, destruction, damage, vandalism and simple assault.

On-Campus Crimes Reported in Arizona

According to a campus crime report released by the University of Arizona Police Department, there were 18 reports of rape on campus two years in a row, in both 2020 and 2021. This is a significant decrease from 40 rape reports in 2019. There were also reports of 22 burglaries, 19 motor vehicle thefts, 11 cases of fondling, 11 aggravated assaults, 3 arsons and 2 robberies. In addition, there were 570 liquor law and 13 drug law disciplinary actions at the University of Arizona in 2021.

The Arizona State University 2022 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report stated that in 2021, reported crimes across all four main campuses totaled 1,517 in 2021, up from 1,450 in 2020. The majority of the crimes reported were drug and alcohol offenses (1,366). There were also 32 burglaries, 15 motor vehicle thefts, 14 cases of fondling, 12 aggravated assaults, 8 robberies and 2 arsons. The Tempe campus reported the highest number of crimes, at 1,273. There was an increase in rape crimes reported on the Tempe campus from 2020 to 2021, from 17 to 24. 

What Are the Potential Consequences of On-Campus Crimes?

If you get accused of committing any type of crime while studying or visiting on campus at an Arizona college or university, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer near you right away. Your future could be at risk in more ways than one. Common consequences of being part of an on-campus criminal investigation include:

  • School disciplinary action: if there is enough evidence to connect you to the crime or offense, you may face disciplinary action from your college, such as suspension or permanent expulsion from the school. This can affect your ability to get into other colleges in the future.
  • Criminal charges and penalties: the government may choose to bring criminal charges against you for a crime committed on campus. If you are convicted, you could face jail time, hefty fines, required victim restitution, probation, license suspension and other serious penalties.
  • Civil liability: the alleged victim may also file a civil claim against you in pursuit of financial compensation for the losses that were caused by the crime. This may include medical bills and property repairs, for which you will have to pay out of pocket or through insurance.

Even if you are never convicted of an on-campus crime, the accusation alone could damage your reputation and ruin personal relationships. By hiring a lawyer, you can protect yourself against criminal allegations, even if this means taking your case to trial. If case dismissal or acquittal is not possible, your lawyer can still assist you by arguing to reduce your charges, arranging a plea deal with lesser penalties, and communicating with the college disciplinary committee and/or a prosecutor on your behalf. Contact AZ Defenders today to schedule a free case consultation.