New study says University of San Francisco is not such a dangerous campus

University of San Francisco. (Courtesy of Allan Ferguson on Flickr)

Students at the University of San Francisco may not need to worry that their Panhandle campus is as dangerous as reports have made it out to be, according to a new study looking at criminal data.

Earlier this summer, the news website The Daily Beast ranked USF as the third most dangerous campus in the country, citing the number of criminal offenses at the school from 2008-10 based on data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, as is required by federal law.

In The Daily Beast report, violent incidents such as rape and sexual assault were left out, which can alter statistics, said Anisha Sekar of NerdWallet, a website whose goal is to provide transparent, accurate information on education and finance.

Based on the data submitted to the federal government, USF had 40 burglaries, 13 robberies, eight aggravated assaults, 17 car thefts and two homicides from 2008-10.

The most current report, released last week, shows that USF crime is down, with only five burglaries last school year compared to 11 the previous year, three robberies compared to six, and two aggravated assaults compared to three.

Car thefts were up from 14 in 2010 to 24 in 2011.

But, according to Sekar, The Daily Beast also weighted each crime, therefore giving a single event such as a homicide, which was awarded 20 points, a larger influence on the outcome when compared to other crimes, such as arson, which was awarded six points.

Two homicides did occur in 2008 over a drug deal on a street off campus, but they are cited due to their proximity to the school.

Daniel Lawson, the director of public safety for USF, said as far as the homicides go, neither students nor faculty were at risk. He said determining campus safety is all about understanding the crime and the statistics. Lawson said the most common crime reported — as with much of The City — is theft of cellphones.

“I would challenge anybody to compare our campus to any other campus, with regard to how safe we are,” he said. “We live in an urban area and crime can happen, but our campus is very safe and the neighborhood is very safe.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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