Top-tier schools report more offenses, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're more dangerous.
According to a report from Rehabs.com, using data from the Office of Postsecondary Education, Ivy League schools led the country in reports of forcible sexual assaults in 2012. Princeton topped the list, with Brown coming in at number two. Emory, the 20th best university in the country according to US News & World Report, was third on the list, with Dartmouth behind it. Stanford, Yale, and Carnegie-Mellon were other highly ranked schools appearing in the top ten.
This does not necessarily mean that these schools have more sexual assaults per capita than others. It could indicate that these schools are better at reporting sexual assault, which is typically drastically underreported. So these high numbers could actually be indicative of more progressive sexual assault policies at these schools, and/or chronic underreporting at the large state universities that lead in other crime categories.
These figures are part of a larger study of drug-and-alcohol-related arrests at colleges across the country. Rehabs.com's study took a holistic look at on-campus crime, including weapons possession, burglary, and arson, among others, to determine whether drug and alcohol arrests are indicative of larger crime problems or better policing at any given school. None of the schools appearing in the top ten forcible sex offense reports (not arrests) appeared in any other top ten lists except Stanford, which had the ninth most burglary arrests.
However, a lack of drug and alcohol arrests does not mean that Ivy League schools don't have drug and alcohol problems. According to Rehabs.com's report,
Princeton (No. 1 for per capita forcible sex offenses), reported zero on-campus alcohol arrests in 2012, but did report 28 ‘judicial referrals’ to a university committee located within the office of the dean of undergraduate students. Similarly, there were seven on-campus arrests for drug violations, yet 45 referrals to the same committee. The same thing appears to be the case for other Ivy League schools. They report few to no arrests for alcohol or drug offenses, but in many cases a high number of incidents that receive university disciplinary actions. For instance, at Columbia University, no arrests for alcohol were reported in 2012 yet the school had 136 cases of disciplinary action for that infraction. This may be a method certain colleges use to avoid their students receiving criminal records.
The report notes that Yale, which had the seventh-most reported sexual offenses in 2012, was fined $165,000 last year for "serious and numerous" violations of the Clery Act, which federally mandates reporting of crime statistics on or near college campuses.
The report concludes that relationship between on-campus alcohol and drug abuse and criminal activity is highly complex, and further investigation is needed to determine any concrete answers about what causes crime on college campuses.
Image via Patrick Nouhailer.