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The Top 20 Safest Campuses in the US in 2017

By Mathilde Frot

Updated March 12, 2021 Updated March 12, 2021

Going to college or university can be daunting enough without having to worry about being a victim of crime or violence. Fortunately, a new comprehensive ranking of the safest college campuses in the US is now available, factoring in crime statistics, including incidents of violence against women and number of arrests for illegal weapons possession, as well as liquor and drug law violations.

The ranking, released by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, uses government figures provided for total incidents in a calendar year about over 2,000 institutions. The top 20 can be seen below.

1. University of New Hampshire

With only three arrests on campus, 57 incidents of violence against women, and 417 arrests in student housing, the Durham-based University of New Hampshire was deemed the safest college campus in the US.

2. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Rexburg-based Brigham Young University-Idaho came second, with 12 incidents of violence against women (i.e. domestic violence, dating violence and stalking), despite a large population of nearly 44,000 - nearly twice that of the University of New Hampshire. A possible explanation for its high safety ranking may be the Christian honor code students are required to abide by at the university.

3. Oakland University

With only 20 crimes, (i.e. such as murder, rape, theft or arson), committed in campus housing at Oakland University, as well as 10 arrests on campus and 71 arrests in student housing, Michigan-based Oakland University has one of the safest campuses in the US.

4. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst

In fourth place this year, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, also in New Hampshire, has seen only nine arrests on campus and in student housing. Amherst is known for its liberal politics, with 49.18% of voters registered as Democrats.

5. Washington State University

Based in Pullman, Washington State University scores highly on the safety index with only seven arrests on campus for crimes such as illegal weapons possession, drug law violations or liquor law violations. Cougars at Washington State can continue to sleep soundly at night.

6. Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University remains one of the safest college campuses in the country. With only nine arrests on campus and no crimes committed on campus, life is peachy in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

7. University of California, Irvine

In Orange County, the University of California, Irvine continues to rank among the safest campuses in the US, with only two arrests in student housing and no incidents of crime, despite a large increase in enrolment numbers at the college this year.

8. Montclair State University

Montclair State University which also featured in our list of the most LGBT-friendly US universities, is also a very safe space for all students. The New Jersey-based university has a low rate of violence against women in student housing of about 0.9%.

9.The University of Central Oklahoma

There are many reasons why the University of Central Oklahoma is generally awesome, not least because actor Ed Harris is an alumni. The fact it’s one of the American universities with the smallest number of attacks against women, with 14 alleged incidents (which is about 0.3%), is another. Go Bronchos!

10. Michigan State University

The second Michigan-based university to make its way into the top 10, Michigan State has been the scene of 1,288 alleged incidents, a fairly low number when the university’s large population of 50,538 is considered. Indeed, it has a crime rate in student housing of 1.8%.

11. Kent State University

Since the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War in 1970 by members of the Ohio National Guard, Kent State University has transformed its reputation to become one of the safest US universities. Only 469 incidents occurred on campus last year, with a low campus crime rate of 0.6%.

12. George Mason University

Located just outside Washington DC, George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, has seen 49 crimes on campus and 30 in campus housing, making it one of the safest universities nationwide.

13. Utah State University

Despite what you may think about the state of Utah’s permissive gun laws, Utah State University is actually quite safe, with only 18 alleged crimes on campus and in campus housing. Meanwhile, there have only been 27 incidents of violence against women on campus or in student housing.

14. Purdue University

Based in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University has seen 33 alleged crimes in campus housing and 60 on campus, as well as 21 incidents of violence against women on campus and 25 in student housing.

15. Appalachian State University

Tucked away among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, has seen 11 alleged crimes in campus housing and 17 on campus and only eight alleged incidents of violence against women, a remarkably low number for such a big university.

16. CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College

Meanwhile in Manhattan, CUNY Bernard M Baruch College ranks among the safest campuses in New York City, with only one alleged incident of violence against women no alleged crimes on campus and in student housing, and just two arrests on campus for things like illegal weapons possessions, drug law violation and underage drinking.

17. CUNY Hunter College

The second safest university in New York City, CUNY Hunter College has only seen three arrests on campus, four alleged criminal incidents on campus and only 10 alleged crimes in total.

18. Iowa State University


Meanwhile in Ames, Iowa State University’s fairly big population of 35,714 staff and students has seen 558 alleged incidents in total, including 104 directed against women, 69 of a criminal nature and 356 arrests for underage drinking, illegal weapons possessions or drug violations.

19. CUNY City College

Just around the corner from Columbia University in Harlem, CUNY City College ranks among the safest colleges in the city of New York, with only 23 arrests on campus and in student housing for things like illegal weapons possession, drugs and underage drinking.

20. New York University

Finally in 20th place, there have been no arrests on campus or in student housing at New York University, while there have been just 12 alleged crimes and 14 incidents of violence against women.

This article was originally published in October 2017 . It was last updated in March 2021

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I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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