Fresno State makes most dangerous colleges in America list

November 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno State officials are defending the university after it ranks as one of the most dangerous colleges in America.

Business Insider used FBI crime statistics to determine its list. University officials and students acknowledged crime could be reduced, but they don't always feel unsafe here.

No university wants to be listed among the most dangerous in the country, but Fresno State made the cut. Jose Verduzco says the campus is safe, but his friends have been victims of crime.

"They just broke into their car, got a few things, that can happen anywhere in my opinion," Verduzco said. "And then Fresno has a high crime rate regardless."

At a news conference Tuesday, university officials said the stats used are misleading. Being transparent and reporting crime -- they feel -- is now working against them.

Lt. James Watson said, "We do have a safe school here, it's like any other campus."

Paul Oliaro Vice President for Student Affairs told Action News, "If there's anything good to come from this is that hopefully it will heighten students' awareness."

Business Insider, an online publication founded in 2007, used stats compiled by the FBI and the Clery Act, to form its dangerous campus listing.

Crimes like assaults, rapes, and burglaries -- just to name a few -- contribute to the reports.

From 2008-2011, the report says Fresno State averaged 12 violent crimes and 413 property crimes a year. Thus it's 19 of 25 rank.

The article noted a higher crime rate last year, with 17 violent crimes and 501 property crimes.

Fresno State student Tou Yang said, "Around campus is where it feels kind of unsafe."

And the list does include off-campus crimes reported by the university. For example, a shooting last year outside a party -- across the street from campus -- could be included.

The problem here, the study points out, not every school reports off-campus issues. Some students say the campus can be dangerous, especially at night.

"I just heard a lot of crime going on," Fresno State student Alexis Gutierrez said. "I live in the dorms so you see a lot of stuff posted... robbery or people with guns."

Several students told Action News, when walking to and from class at night -- they take safety items -- like a whistle or mace -- just in case.

The university also wants students to download its smart phone app, which has buttons for students to use in emergency situations. Just search "Fresno State" on your phone.

Student leaders say revitalization efforts over the past year have made the campus safer.

UCLA took the top spot as the most dangerous campus.

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