December 8, 2023

In a recently released study that analyzed violent crime cases on college campuses — rape, murder or manslaughter, aggravated assault and robbery — from 2019-2021, DegreeChoices found the University of Washington (UW) is one of the nation’s 30 most dangerous schools.

UW ranked No. 26 in the number of annual violent crimes, sandwiched between two universities in Texas — Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View (No. 25) and the University of North Texas in Denton (No. 27). The top five most dangerous campuses were University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Ohio State University; the University of California, Berkeley; Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and the University of Iowa.

The University of Michigan had 1,468 total violent crimes reported during the study’s review period with Ohio State University’s 583 incidents as the next closest.

DegreeChoices reported using Campus Safety and Security data reported to and published by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to analyze violent crimes on campus at public, private, and non-profit universities. The organization selected colleges with a minimum institution size of 500 students with or without on campus housing.

“Both the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Ohio State University have the highest rates of violent crime because of historic sexual abuse at the hands of university physicians,” the study stated. “Although these egregious acts happened decades ago, they were only properly investigated and reported in the past few years. In both cases, there is evidence that university personnel had been informed of the abuse and had failed to act at the time.”

Campuses with hospitals attached — like UW — can have higher rates of violent crime as hospital staff and students can be in situations where patients lash out and attack, causing an aggravated assault.

Heading into the last school year, a series of violent instances occurred against students. A 21-year-old male was killed in a hit-and-run at the intersection of 16th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 47th Street. The next day, four UW students were injured in a shooting and were immediately rushed to UW Medical Center.

“UW must do more to protect its students. Having a few glorified mall cops walk around a couple of blocks, while others sit idly in their souped-up, overpriced vehicles will no longer cut it,” Jacob Renn, a former editor-in-chief for UW’s news outlet, The Daily, wrote. “This also includes a complete overhaul of the UW Alert system. While UW developed UW Alert — a system that disperses information via telecommunication and adjacent platforms regarding emergencies deemed important enough for the UW community — it often does more harm than good.”

Offenses involving forced sex accounted for 60.4% of the total violent crime analyzed between 2019 and 2021, according to DegreeChoice’s findings. Xavier University, University of Michigan, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Ohio State University and Harvard University ranked as the top five schools with the highest rates of reported rape making up the campus’ violent crime. Instances of rape qualified for at least 89.5% of the violent crimes committed at the aforementioned schools, with Xavier University reporting 98.8% of all violent crime was reported cases of rape.

According to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one of the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault nonprofits in the U.S., only 20% of female students aged 18-24 reported sexual assault to law enforcement.

University District, home to UW’s Seattle campus, is safer than just 17% of the cities in Washington. The neighborhood’s crime rates are 191% higher than the national average, according to AreaVibes’ data, with violent crimes occurring at a 73% higher rate than the national average.

“There’s an incident just about every week,” one resident posted on Reddit in a thread last April warning future UW students of crime. “Last week, it was a shooting by someone with a hockey mask on the street that runs parallel to the school. The week before, there was a stabbing in one of the student garages. Find a buddy and don’t walk alone in the evenings if you can help it.”

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