Note: We have an updated article of crime stats for the major Georgia colleges and universities here.
Today the FBI released its crime data from 2012 and the results are a bit startling. Like any data provided by the government, the crime data is presented in a manner requiring hours of dissection, so I hope to go through the data over the next few days to find some interesting stuff. However, at first glance, there is already extremely great data. A quick look at crime data regarding Georgia universities shows Emory to be extremely dangerous and Georgia Tech to be surprisingly safe. Now the FBI data has some notorious flaws, mainly that many people never report certain crimes. Homicide data is extremely accurate because the victim isn’t required to report the crime, but accurate data concerning crimes such as rape and burglary is difficult to attain. Many people are reluctant to report rape for personal and private reasons while many people are reluctant to report burglary because it is simply too minor of a crime. Though the FBI data has flaws, as long as we are comparing data with similar flaws we can draw important conclusions.
Based on media reports, it may come as a shock to many people that Georgia Tech is relatively safe and Emory University is relatively dangerous. The FBI data shows that Emory had 17 violent crimes committed on campus in 2012. That equates to one violent crime for every 817 people. Meanwhile Georgia Tech has one violent crime for every 2,094 people, Georgia State one for every 970 people, and UGA one for every 2,321 people. Tech, with a population of 20,941, basically has the same stats as UGA.
The most startlingly statistic for me is forcible rape. Emory had 14 forcible rapes in 2012. 14! On a campus of only 13,893 people. That’s one rape for every 992 people. UGA had one rape for every 5,802 people, GA State had one for every 8,005 people. Far and away the safest school was Tech, where one rape occurred for every 20,941 people.
Somewhat surprisingly, GA State was the safest school for burglaries. State has 32,022 students, but only experienced 5 total burglaries in 2012. Meanwhile UGA, with a slightly higher population of 34,816, experienced 44 burglaries! GA State had one burglary for every 6,404 students, while UGA had one for every 791 students. Emory “shined” in this statistic as it only had one burglary for every 926 people. Tech was slightly higher at one for every 1,112 students.
Now many conclusions can be made about this data, but I think the most interesting ideas are that Georgia Tech is not as unsafe as we think it is and Emory is way more unsafe than we think it is. The media is great at reporting incidents that make news, but data is way better at reporting facts and trends. This is fresh data and I hope to have much more analysis of crime across the country. Crime rates are at historical lows; most cities are experiencing violent crime rates that haven’t been seen since the 1950’s. The 2012 FBI numbers appears to uphold this trend, but certainly much more interesting stories are hiding in the data.