University Of North Dakota Listed In Top 25 “Most Crime Rattled Colleges”

university of north dakota

I don’t think UND will be putting this accomplishment in their student brochure.

The Daily Beast surveyed 500 universities nation wide for crime statistics and produced a list of the top 25 worst colleges. Coming in at 23 is the University of North Dakota.

Here’s how the came up with the rankings:

We looked at four-year nonprofit private colleges and four-year public colleges with more than 6,000 total students, taking into account the numbers for each school’s primary campus and auxiliary campuses in the same metro area as the main campus. Our final dataset included more than 500 universities. The crimes we considered were: murder, negligent murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, car theft, and arson. Because not all crimes are the same, we devised a subjective weighting system based on crime severity. Burglary established our low-end baseline for weighting; car theft was weighted twice as much as burglary; assault and robbery, six times as much as burglary; arson and negligent manslaughter, 10 times as much as burglary; and murder, 20 times as much as burglary.

In addition to weighting, we considered each crime against total enrollment, to come up with a per-capita ratio. Finally, each per-capita ratio was compared to the overall cohort of more than 500 schools—to take into account whether each school’s per-capita ratio for each crime was relatively high or low—to determine our final list of America’s Most Crime-Rattled Colleges.

According to the article, between 2008 and 2010 the University of North Dakota had 1 negligent homicide, 10 aggravated assaults, 51 burglaries, 6 car thefts and 2 cases of arson.

That’s a whole lot of crime for a small campus in a small North Dakota city.

But remember, according to North Dakota’s new chancellor of higher education, North Dakota’s university system “doesn’t need fixing.”

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • VocalYokel

    “I don’t think UND will be putting this accomplishment in their student brochure.”

    Probably not…but I’m willing to wager they’ll figure out an angle to use it to get more ‘necessary funding.’

  • Jeff

    Wow, you use every story possible in your war against higher education. I bet if there was an article that came out talking about late fee increases at a college public library, you would use it to rip on the SBHE, and every other person in charge at higher ed. I am wondering when you will blog about this article: 

    It talks about how NDSU is being grossly underfunded compared to other ND colleges an that being the reason for cuts. entrlyGetting $1,300 less than UND per student and 4,000 less than Valley City State per student just doesn’t right.

    • Rob

      I don’t think any university that gives away $15 million in tuition waivers should complain about “barely scraping by.”

      NDSU has gotten a nearly 100% increase in state funding over the last decade.  They aren’t spending their money prudently.

    • nWo

      Well, well little Jeffie, your panties get ruffled up from the truth?  Grow a pair!

  • Guest

    Come on, Rob.  Sure this article suits your purpose of disparaging ND higher ed, but does this really ring true to you?  It reminds me of the study a few years back which found that ND was the most corrupt state in the nation. Do you honestly feel that crime is a serious issue at UND or any other ND college campus?

    • Rob

      Well, look at the problems UND just had with expelling a student falsely accused of a sexual assault.  It took more than a year of legal battles to get UND to fix that problem, so yes this rings true.

      But if you have a problem with the data, by all means point it out.  The methodology and numbers are cited clearly.

      • Guest

         Explain that logic to me. The Caleb Warner case may very well have been a travesty, but how does that lend support to the notion that UND is “crime rattled”?

        • Rob

          It seems to me that the article’s methodology is sound.

          There is a surprising amount of crime going on at UND.

          • Guest

            Declaring the methodology to be sound does not make it so.  Go back to the original article and read the comments, which point out several deficiencies in this “study”. 

            BTW, you can look at the actual statistics for any institution here:

            One peculiar thing about the Clery Act is that it requires that universities report data for many areas which they do not control, including many non-campus locations where students may be located for clinical work, for example.  Also included in the numbers are crimes in public spaces which are also not within the university’s control.  Look at the UND data above and you will see that a large percentage of these crimes occurred off campus. How these locations are defined varies widely from one school to another.

            The most serious crime listed for UND was negligent homicide.  The numbers show that this was not an on-campus crime.  I’m not sure about this, but since it was from 2010, I suspect that this was the case of the drunk driver who was pulled over for running a red light near UND, then fled police and later struck another vehicle and killed at least one person.  The initial stop was made by UND police, which may explain why it was included.  Again, I’m not sure about that because I can’t seem to find any information about the specific incident, but if I’m correct, this particular crime does not actual reflect on the overall level of crime at UND.  But in this study, this was the most heavily weighted crime.

            UND has a pretty thorough report about campus crime:

            Compare the UND data to Grand Forks overall.  UND is a pretty safe place to be.

          • Rob

            Comparing UND data to overall Grand Forks data is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

            The idea of the universities being held accountable for crimes they have no direct control over is certainly a flaw, but it’s a consistent flaw applied to all the universities, not something that would drive UND to the top of this list.

            But, again, I’m not surprised that higher ed apologists have no interest in admitting that anything is wrong.

          • Guest

            I’ll agree its not a perfect comparison, but clearly the rate of crime on campus is significantly lower than that of Grand Forks overall.

            Also, my point about the flaw in the reporting is that it is not consistent across all universities. There are differences in jurisdiction between campus and city law enforcement, differences in how public, campus, and non-campus spaces are defined, and differences in how some law enforcement agencies track data vs. what the Clery Act requires.

            And don’t simply label anyone who disagrees with you an “apologist.” I’m on the UND campus every day, and this ranking simply does not agree with my own experience. Nobody I’ve talked to has ever mentioned crime as a serious issue on this campus. There may be plenty of other issues, but people are not walking around in a state of fear, as this sensationalist article suggests.

          • Rob

            I think you’re attacking a bit of a strawman. Nobody is saying that people are walking around in fear at UND. The article says that UND has a high amount of crime, and they do.

            I mean, you’re dismissing 51 burglaries? Two cases of arson?

            I guess I’m not nearly so willing to dismiss the numbers.

  • Spitfire94

    Wow, what a horrible list to be on.  We should close all of them…like these others on the list:  Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale…and don’t forget that upstart Penn.

    Port, join me in calling for the closing of all higher ed institutions as I for one am getting tired of these bastions of liberalism corrupting our pure North Dakota teenagers!

    Hey, have you heard the EPA is using drones to spy on people?

    • Rob

      So, no response to the numbers and methodology?

      Typical of the higher Ed apologists.

      • Spitfire94

        Okay Port, I’ll play.

        How is it that the authors chose that murder is 20 times as harsh as burglary? I mean, if we really went down this road, that would mean for every 20 people who would prefer to be burglarized, there would be one who would prefer to be murdered.

        Don’t you think this is silly?

        • Gern Blanston

          I don’t think I’d prefer either…  How would YOU have weighted the crimes? Maybe murder should get even more weight. Would you rather be burglerized 20 times rather than murdered once? Would you rather your kid went to a school with ten murders last year or 200 burgleries?

          • Spitfire94

            Obviously, no one would prefer either.  But the authors of this silly article forced the issue on us and decided that murder was 20 times worse than burglary.  That’s a ratio of 20:1, meaning that if forced to experience a crime, out of 21 people, 1 would prefer murder to burglary.  I think that is silly, and there is no way a reasonable person would agree with this methodology.

            On your first question, I would weight the ratio near infinity, because in all candor, who among us would, if forced, would choose murder over burglary?

            On your second question, if I had to choose, I would prefer the burglaries, because no amount of property is ever equal to or greater than the value of my kids.

            I honestly can’t believe anyone would argue the other side?

          • Rob

            You’re splitting hairs.  That’s not how this sort of analysis works.

            Obviously, murder is a much more serious crime than theft.  And, equally as obvious, there is nobody who would rather die than be stolen from.

            But the methodology is sound.  They made allowances for the seriousness of the crime, and adjusted for campus sizes, and arrived at a sound conclusion.

            That it’s inconvenient for North Dakota’s higher education apologists is neither here nor there.

          • spitfire94

            Splitting hairs?

            Is that the new technique? When you don’t understand how ratios and probabilities work, you just use some cliche and then state the methodology is sound?

            How do you specifically refute the 20:1 weighting ratio? Do you not understand that this is a probability that, according to the authors, murder is 20 times worse than burglary? What if the authors would have picked 100 times, or 1000 times, would you accept that? Why 20? What is that based upon? Do you really think 1 in 21 people would prefer murder to burglary?

            Because, mathematically, that is what you are saying is sound…you do understand that, don’t you?

        • Spitfire94

          Port, you still there?

          Not up on the laws of probability?

          • Rob

            I’m here.  I’m just not as impressed with your silly water-muddying as you are.

          • Rob

            By the way, we aren’t measuring probability here.  This isn’t some projection of crime.  What’s being measured is the instance of crime on these campuses.

            And UND has a high instance of crime, weighted for seriousness.

  • Kevin Flanagan

    Most of the crime is perpetrated by the education bureaucracy on the taxpayers and students. They don’t even use a gun!  

  • two_amber_lamps

    Just another example of the numerous skeletons in the SBHE closet….

  • Dlao

    give me the link to any article Rob has written that says one good thing about any college in ND

    • nWo

      Is there any good thing to say about HE in ND?

    • Rob

      The university system has massive PR departments, and a sympathetic state media establishment, to carry that water.

      • dlao

        so you admit you have absolutely nothing good to say about any college in ND

        • Rob

          This is a pretty silly line of argument.  Of course there are good things to say about the university system.

          I don’t say them because they’re already being said all the time by other people.  What doesn’t get nearly enough coverage are the very real problems in higher ed.

  • Hughes Phillipj

    why are car thefts worse than burglaries, and are the assaults all really aggravated or are some simple?

    • Rob

      The article states aggravated assaults.  I don’t think that warrants a lot of speculation.

      And car thefts are worse than burglaries because they carry a stiffer penalty under the law.

  • Dave

    I bet if the Daily Beast came out with a ranking about crime in N.D. Oil County there would suddenly be a problem with the methodology being less than “sound.” You see one man’s higher Ed apologist is the same as another’s oil industry apologist.

    • Rob

      If some tu quoque rationalization makes you feel better about this, by all means fire away.

      It’s about what I expect from higher ed apologists who are unwilling to admit to the problems in our university system.

      • Nope

        You’re laughable, Rob. He brings up a good point and you can’t even manage to defend yourself.

        • Rob

          His “good point” was to launch an attack at me to distract from UND’s crime problem.

          I think you have a funny definition of “good point.”

  • awfulorv

    If the entire student body of Mayville State, on Safari in Africa, studying the evolution of the native Proboscises, and Labia, were to fall into the Olduvai Gorge, never to be seen, or heard from again, the incident would not rate four lines in the New York Times. Unless, that is, three or four Black porters and, perhaps, two Donkeys were, also, lost in the accident. Believe me, the latest won- lost record of the Quinnipiac Queers is more important to them than anything that could ever happen concerning the upper Midwest. That’s just who these snobs are, and how they think, or rather don’t think, of you. Even Roger Maris, primarily because he came from the, supposed, racist North, was not born Black, and didn’t rise up from segregation before he became the true home run champ, was forgotten, within three months, by New Yorkers.

  • awfulorv

    Back in the day, it was thought prudent for a young man to consider wedding a native Chinese girl as, all else being equal, her dad was probably rich, or she couldn’t afford to matriculate that far from home. Now, with all the waivers, basketball, and football, scholarships, and such, unless you’ve become fluent in Mandarin, you’re less assured of who your Bethrothed might be. She may be the daughter of a Chinese politician from San Francisco, and you might spend your days basting chickens, hanging them from hooks, behind murky windows, while tourists gawk at you.