The National Council for Home Safety and Security published their annual rankings of safest college campuses in the country, placing Cal Poly as 18th in the state and 163rd in the nation out of 243 total campuses.
Colleges are ranked based on the amount of violent and property crime reports both on the campus and in the city it is located, as well as how many law enforcement officers are employed by the university. The council collects data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Campus Safety Security Survey given by the U.S. Department of Education.
Universities with less than 10,000 enrolled students as well as those without enough information available were excluded from this compilation of rankings.
Based on the data collected by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, Cal Poly reportedly had 12 violent crimes and 136 property crimes on campus with a total of 20,944 enrolled students.
The most recent data from Cal Poly’s 2017 Annual Security Report states that there were 13 violent crimes and 13 property crimes on campus in 2016.
Brigham Young University, ranked No. 1, had 20 violent crimes on campus and 17 property crimes, but with more than double the student enrollment of Cal Poly.
Many parents of Cal Poly students seem to not be phased by this report. Members of the Cal Poly SLO Mustang Parents Facebook page brought forth many possible contributors to skewed data.
“Cal State San Marcos (ranked 13 in the country) has very few kids living on campus. [It’s] mostly a commuter school so it’s not even in the same category as Cal Poly as far as I’m concerned,” Cal Poly parent Karen Callison Briley wrote.
Briley also said that while sexual assault cases from parties may be bringing the school safety down, neither her nor her son have ever felt unsafe while attending Cal Poly.
University spokesperson Matt Lazier said the safety of the campus community is a primary focus for the university and the University Police Department (UPD). Cal Poly campus is patrolled by officers in cars and on bikes all hours of the day, according to Lazier.
Cal Poly has an escort van that runs through campus at certain times and stops at designated locations such as the Robert E. Kennedy Library, Julian A. McPhee University Union and Residence halls. The van runs Sunday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight.
The campus also has several “Blue Light” phones which act as emergency stations when a student feels unsafe on campus. The phones connect to a 911 dispatcher at the UPD Communications Center who can then assist the student and send help as soon as possible.
“Cal Poly Police provides a wealth of crime prevention tips online and performs regular community outreach during new student orientation and throughout the year,” Lazier said. “[This] helps students and others on campus become more aware of how they can help themselves and others stay safe.”
Some students, however, are taking caution when participating in everyday activities. Communication studies sophomore Kameron Ramirez said although the “Blue Light” phones are supposed to be seen from every point on campus, she doesn’t think that to be true.
“There’s a lot of scary stuff that happens here,” Ramirez said. “Just because we are known as the happiest city in America doesn’t mean we are the safest.”