College Campus Crime and Safety Statistics
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
More than 31,000 crimes were reported on college campuses throughout the nation in 2021.
Of those reported crimes, only 2% were unfounded.Note Reference 
During the same year, there were 21,816 reported arrests on college campuses.Note Reference 
The most commonly reported criminal offenses were burglaries, rapes, and motor vehicle thefts.Note Reference 
42% of reported crimes on campuses qualified as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses.Note Reference 
Approximately 5% of reported crimes at colleges were hate crimes.Note Reference 
2021 saw the largest number of hate crimes ever reported at colleges since the Department of Education began collecting this data in 2005.Note Reference 
Crime may be on the decline throughout the nation, but safety remains a top priority for college students and their families. In a 2022 BestColleges survey, 60% of current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students said that campus safety was a factor they considered when choosing their school.
To better understand crime and safety on college campuses, we took a look into the most common crimes at schools, how many crimes occur, and how different organizations are working to combat these incidents.
Table of Contents
How Many Crimes Happen on College Campuses?
According to the most recently available data from the U.S. Department of Education's Campus Safety Survey, there were 31,137 criminal offenses reported on more than 10,000 college campuses in 2021. Of these reported crimes, just 2% were unfounded.Note Reference 
The number of criminal offenses reported on campuses has decreased by 53% since 2005. In other words, it has been slashed in half.Note Reference 
This significant drop in reported crimes isn't limited to college campuses. Across the nation, the rate of violent crime has decreased by more than 45% since 1990.
Experts have long-speculated that a variety of factors, including better policing, increased police presence, decreased alcohol consumption, the rise of technology, an aging population, and even abortion, has contributed to falling violent crime rates., 
Most Common Crimes on Campuses
The most commonly reported criminal offenses on campuses in 2021 included burglaries, rape, motor vehicle thefts, and unwanted touching or fondling.Note Reference 
- Burglaries accounted for 23% of all reported criminal offenses.
- Rapes accounted for approximately 21% of reported offenses.
- Motor vehicle thefts accounted for 19%.
- Fondling incidents, 16%.
Of the more than 31,000 crimes reported on campuses in 2021, 42% qualified as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses.Note Reference  This includes incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
- 48% of reported VAWA offenses were stalking incidents.
- 27% of reported VAWA offenses were incidents of domestic violence.
- 24% of reported VAWA offenses were incidents of dating violence.
Reporting Sexual Violence
Reporting sexual violence is often difficult and confusing, especially when it occurs in intimate partner relationships. But there are safety resources students can turn to if they're in trouble. For more information, check out BestColleges' guide on sexual assault on campus and reporting these incidents to school officials.
Hate crimes are offenses like vandalism, arson, assault, or murder that contain an added element of bias. For an offense to qualify as a hate crime, it must be motivated fully or in part by the perpetrator's bias against the victim's
race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.
In 2021, there were 1,626 hate crimes reported on college campuses — the largest number of hate crimes ever reported at institutions since the Department of Education first began collecting this data in 2005.Note Reference  Over the last 16 years, the number of reported hate crimes has increased by nearly 3,600%.
- 46% of reported hate crimes on campuses during the year were intimidation incidents.
- 33% of reported hate crimes were incidents of destruction, damage, or vandalism of property.
- 11% of reported hate crimes were simple assaults.
While half of all reported hate crimes fell under every category of bias, the most common types of hate crimes reported were about race, sexual orientation, or religion.Note Reference 
- Hate crimes that were solely about race accounted for 24% of all reported hate crimes.
- Hate crimes solely about sexual orientation accounted for 9% of reported hate crimes.
- Hate crimes about religion accounted for 7% of reported hate crimes.
Hate Crime Trends
During the same year college campuses saw a rise in reported hate crimes, the country saw a slight decrease in anti-Black hate crimes — historically, the most commonly committed hate crimes throughout the nation. The following year, however, a rise in reports of antisemitic and anti-Asian hate crimes and hostility occurred.
To address this, the Department of Education launched an antisemitism awareness campaign in 2023.
Arrests and Disciplinary Actions on College Campuses
In 2021, 21,816 arrests were reported on college campuses.Note Reference 
- Half of all reported arrests were drug abuse violations.
- 41% of all reported arrests were liquor law violations.
- About 9% of all reported arrests were weapons violations.
Since 2005, the number of reported arrests on campuses has decreased by approximately 72%.Note Reference 
Reported arrests peaked in 2012 at more than 78,000 and were lowest in 2021 at just under 22,000.
During the same year, there were 130,911 disciplinary actions reported on college campuses.Note Reference 
- The majority of disciplinary actions reported were liquor law violations (80%).
- 19% of disciplinary actions were drug abuse violations.
- Less than 1% of disciplinary actions were weapons violations.