Does Rice really have the highest college crime rate in Texas?

Rice University ranks first for crime rate in Texas, according to new FBI numbers.

HOUSTON – The FBI has released 2015 crime statistics that show Rice University had the highest crime rate in the state compared to other Texas colleges.

The report included statistics for colleges and universities of all sizes.

The smallest school on the list is Austin College with 1,301 students. The largest is Texas A&M University with 61,642 students.

In order to put all schools on an even playing field, KHOU 11 News researchers calculated crime rates per 10,000 students.

When ranking Houston schools, Rice University topped the list with 317 crimes reported per 10,000 students in 2015.

Texas Southern University had 251, Houston Baptist University had 153, University of Houston’s main campus had 127, and Texas A&M Galveston campus had 55 crimes reported per 10,000 students in 2015.

However, the numbers paint a different picture when examining how many violent crimes were committed on each campus.

TSU had the highest number of violent crimes in Houston with 13 reports last year. Houston Baptist University was in second place with 10 violent crimes in 2015. Only six violent crimes were reported at Rice University last year.

“To characterize the campus as the most dangerous is inappropriate and inaccurate. Our biggest crime here is theft,” said Johnny Whitehead, the Chief of Police at Rice University. “Most of those are bicycle thefts.”

Whitehead said the police department constantly educates students about effective bike locks. The campus is also in the process of upgrading its surveillance system in hopes of bringing theft numbers down.

However, to fully understand crime statistics, TSU Professor Dr. Howard Henderson says the key is to have perspective.

“You have to examine it in the context of time,” said Dr. Henderson, with TSU’s Administration of Justice Department. “I would strongly suggest looking at 3-5 years before and 3-5 years after to get a good idea of what those numbers in 2015 actually represent.”

The TSU professor says it’s also relevant to know who the victims of crimes are, to examine neighborhood crime trends, and to look at student populations.

Henderson said looking at crime per 10,000 people is a helpful tool, but it’s not a true representation of campus crime.

“You have some campuses that don’t have that many students, so I think to give a better idea of how likely crime is to happen and represent all the campuses in the data set is to look at the likelihood out of 1,000,” said Henderson.

No matter how you crunch the numbers, campus leaders say it’s important to remember crime can happen anywhere.

“It’s kind of a double edged sword. The campus is safe and it feels safe, but we constantly remind our students: don’t let you guard down. We still need to be vigilant about safety both on and off campus,” said Whitehead.


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