NKU no. 2 in state safety rankings

Brook Clifford, Staff writer
January 17, 2013
Filed under Kentucky News, National News, News

For two years running Northern Kentucky University has ranked second for lowest on-campus crime rates for public schools in Kentucky on stateuniversity.com. Two years ago, this website decided to get information from campuses all over the United States about crime on campus to provide information for potential students or parents of students who are looking at the university.

“The way we rank the schools is through a lot of statistical data,” Brad Folkens, stateuniversity.com engineer, said. “It’s important for students looking at schools and what makes schools successful. Separately we look at different statistics and factors and try to keep it as accurate as possible.”

The website ranks heavier crimes such as murder, aggravated assault and rape with more weight. NKU has two counts of crime, burglary and larceny-theft. Per 1,000 students that attend NKU, 0.64 percent reported that they experienced or witnessed burglary on campus and 8.65 percent have experienced larceny-theft.

“As time goes on, we hope to be able to have more data and expand,” Folkens said. “We rank the campuses through universal crime databases, some campuses even forward us their statistics. Not all universities are ranked because not all of them can be found in a database.”

NKU had the second lowest crime rating and was the only school in the top 10 lowest crime ratings that didn’t have more serious crime embedded in the ranking. Morehead State University, who had the lowest crime rating, had small counts of arson and forcible rape.

“I think what factors into NKU having the second lowest crime rating is geographically where the university is and its surroundings,” NKU’s Chief of Police Jason Willis said. “It’s a relatively safe area, [Highland Heights, Cold Springs] we’re fortunate in that respect.”

NKU’s police department sends out crime report news and annual security reports. NKU also has a Norse Alert system that is in place to warn faculty, staff and students if a potentially dangerous situation was to arise. The police department has a place on their website where NKU’s community can report crimes as well. It also provides information regarding sex offenders who are on campus.

“I would like to think our police department does an excellent job educating our community on good, smart, safe decisions,” Willis said. “We’re very proactive.”

One of the biggest differences between NKU and other universities in the area, according to Willis, is that we have a community that’s here for the right reasons and that they are here to learn.

“I think it’s a combination of things that keeps serious crime away from NKU,” Jill Shelley, NKU criminal justice professor, said. “I would probably say the location of our campus is one of the main things but everything else plays an important part.”

As NKU’s residential population increases over the years, statistics say that so will the crime. The police department is hoping to stay on the front end of educating the community to make smart decisions.

“It has to do with our population, we have really good people here,” Willis said. “I think we’ll stay on the top of that list for being a safe community.”

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