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Violent Victimization of College Students

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EST Bureau of Justice Statistics
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2003 Contact: Stu Smith 202/307-0784
  After hours: 301-983-9354


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice today released findings from its first study of violent crime on college campuses that indicates college students were victimized by violent crime at a lower rate (68 violent victimizations per 1,000 students 18 to 24 years old) than were non-students of the same age (82 violent victimizations per 1,000 non-students aged 18 to 24 years old). The new study from the Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics also shows that violence against college students decreased 40 percent while violence against non-students of the same age fell 44 percent during the survey period.

The Bureau estimates that of the approximately 7.7 million U.S. college students aged 18-24, an average of 526,000 experienced violent crimes (rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault) each year, most (492,000) occurring off campus. Among students living in student housing, about 85 percent of violent victimizations occurred off campus, compared to 95 percent for students living off campus.

Female college students were about half as likely as were male college students to be victims of violent crime - an annual average of 47 violent crimes per 1,000 female students vs. 91 violent crimes per 1,000 male students. Female college students were substantially less likely to be victimized by a violent crime than were similarly aged women in the general population (47 per 1,000 vs. 78 per 1,000).

Black and white college students also experienced lower rates of violent victimization than similarly aged non-students. Only Hispanic students experienced rates of violent victimization equivalent to those of the same age in the general population.

College student victims of violence reported that the offender was perceived to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in 41 percent of incidents of violence which is about the same as for non-student victims. About six in 10 violent victimizations of college students involved an offender(s) not known to the victim.

Violence against college students was less likely to be reported to police (34 percent of all victimizations) than violence against non-students (47 percent). Student victims who did not report the crime they experienced to the police said it was because they considered the violence a private or personal matter.

Firearms were present in 9 percent of all violent victimizations against college students, including 7 percent of all assaults and 30 percent of all robberies.

The report, "Violent Victimization of College Students" (NCJ-196143), was written by BJS statistician Timothy C. Hart. After release, the report will be available on line at:


The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

Date Published: December 7, 2003