Security Officers hit back at university crime risk rankings

university-crimeThe Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) claims new figures on university crime risks paint a “distorted” picture of safety at higher education institutions.

New research released by the Complete University Guide showed that universities in London top the rankings of crime rates around universities in England and Wales.

The study focused on crimes deemed most relevant to students, namely burglary, robbery and violent crime, to give an overall impression of crime rates between May 2012 and April 2013 for almost 120 universities.

It found that universities in London showed the highest rates of crime, with the peak levels found around King’s College London, which suffered 3.59 crimes per thousand residents. The institution was followed by London South Bank (3.76), Pearson College (3.75) and City University London (3.71).

Outside of London, Hull was found to have the highest levels of crime, with 2.58 crimes per thousand residents, ahead of Manchester Metropolitan (2.55) and Manchester University (2.51). Institutions in Birmingham and Nottingham were also showed to suffer from similarly high rates.

Bernard Kingston, founder of the Complete University Guide, claimed the results will help all prospective students assess the risks of individual institutions with “much greater precision” than ever before.

AUCSO-logoHowever, Colin Holland, Vice-Chair at AUCSO and head of security and business continuity at London South Bank University, questioned the study’s findings and the validity of focusing on such three specified crimes.

“There is general consensus that there is value in presenting statistics on crime in the Complete University Guide, however the model statistics currently in use provide a very distorted picture,” he said.

“The data is drawn from policing statistics taken from a three mile radius of the central postcode of each University and only counts the number of incidents of burglary, robbery and violent crime, none of which could be argued to be student-only focused.

“The issue is best illustrated by looking at London where such statistics taken from a three mile radius of some universities will include major national transport hubs, the West End and high foot fall tourist areas.

“All Universities are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for their students, staff and visitors, and many are able to demonstrate this having achieved accreditation under recognised schemes such as ‘Secured Environments’, CSAS and the Tilly Awards.”

AUCSO is the primary association for security professionals working in Universities, Colleges and Institutions of Higher and Further Education in the UK and Europe.

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