Binghamton University joined the ranks of Harvard, Yale, and Duke in a recent list of school rankings, albeit a list most schools would rather avoid.
The Daily Beast, a website that features pop culture news, placed Binghamton among other public schools as well as Ivy League institutions on its list of “America’s 25 Most Crime-Rattled Colleges.”
NerdWallet, a personal finance and credit card comparison website, compiled their own crime study, which reported that BU’s crime rate significantly lowered from 2008 to 2010, dropping from 60 to 17 burglaries.
Anisha Sekar, vice president of credit and debt products at NerdWallet, and Jessica Ayala, public relations specialist at NerdWallet, spoke to Pipe Dream via email about the reports.
“We tallied each incident reported whereas the previous [Daily Beast] study created a weighing system that assigned severities to each crime,” Ayala said.
Sekar, who conducted the survey, disagreed with The Daily Beast’s system of weighing different types of crime.
“Daily Beast argued that murder is 20 times more ‘crime-rattling’ than burglary, and that forcible sexual assault doesn’t factor into the university’s safety environment,” Sekar said.
This means that one incident, such as the 2009 murder of anthropology professor emeritus Richard T. Antoun, would skyrocket the level of crime in the Daily Beast’s survey while not necessarily being representative of the overall or daily crime at the school.
NerdWallet also chose to exclude certain crimes from their study because they did not use a system to weight the crimes.
“Our study also excluded burglary, vehicular theft and arson because the data provided doesn’t always capture an accurate picture and could place a less serious crime with a violent crime,” Ayala said. “By limiting our analysis to violent crime, we can avoid an inaccurate depiction of a school’s overall crime level.”
According to NerdWallet, Binghamton University’s rates of robbery, aggravated assault and vehicular theft are below the national average. BU has only two crimes with rates above the national average; murder, with one incident between 2008 and 2010, and arson, with eight.
The websites drew information for the studies from public data that colleges and universities are required to submit to the Department of Education under the Clery Act.
The Clery Act, a federal law, mandates any institution of higher education that uses federal funding to annually release any reported crime. The Act was passed in 1990 after Lehigh University student Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her on-campus residence hall. Data can now be viewed publicly online, with information from 2008-10.
Connor McCormack, an undeclared sophomore, said he feels safe at BU.
“Not once have I felt I was in danger, especially with the blue light system in place,” McCormack said.
Undeclared sophomore Molly Allen agreed.
“I always feel safe on campus, everyone seems pretty trusting of one another,” Allen said.