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How Safe Are Utah Colleges? Stats, Tips, and Resources for Students

When applying for college, high school juniors and seniors look at academic requirements, financing, housing, available majors, school size, extracurricular programs, and more. But they may not be looking enough at the safety measures potential schools offer.

ASecureLife’s team is based in Salt Lake City, so we got curious about which major Utah colleges are most prone to crime. We also took a look at how these universities are keeping their students safe. Keep reading to learn more about which Utah college campuses have the most crime and what their administrations are doing to crack down on it.

Utah college campus safety map

Utah Most Dangerous College Campus Graphic

Utah college campus safety rankings

All safety information about each campus comes from the FBI crime database unless otherwise indicated.

In our rankings, we won’t give an overview of every safety measure provided by each university. We’ll cover highlights, then provide links to each safety and security report.

University of Utah

Image courtesy of University of Utah

#1. University of Utah (Salt Lake City)

  • Violent crime rate: 3.8 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 124 per 10,000 students

Located in the heart of the state’s capital, the University of Utah has the highest campus crime rates in Utah. The rates are also more than double that of the  school with the second-highest crime rate, Brigham Young University.

What’s the U of U doing about it? This university has an extensive list of safety and security resources offered to students. The school has a campus police department on patrol 24/7 and a K9 unit for large events. It also has more than 70 security staff members, free escort services, and even its own safety app.1

To see a more comprehensive list of student safety resources, check out the U’s most recent safety and security report.

BYU

#2. Brigham Young University (Provo)

  • Violent crime rate: 1.5 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 46.1 per 10,000 students

Provo has a reputation of being a family-oriented haven. But not even the vast number of young families living on or near BYU campus completely deters crime. While its violent crime rate is on par with other universities on this list, BYU’s property crime rates are much higher than the campuses ranked below it.

BYU has its own police force and fire marshal with a “state-certified 9-1-1 center.”2 The university also has an auxiliary force dedicated to patrolling residence halls. It offers a long list of contact points for crime reporting and gives guidelines for instances in which campus pastoral and professional counselors are legally required to report crimes.3

For more information, read BYU’s most recent security and safety report.

Southern Utah University

Image courtesy of Southern Utah University

#3. Southern Utah University (Cedar City)

  • Violent crime rate: 1.1 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 20.4 per 10,000 students

As the host of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, SUU’s renowned for its theater program. Many of its students have a flair for the dramatic—and, it would seem, occasional crime. The university’s overall crime rates are much lower than the U’s, and its property crime rates cut BYU’s in half. But, like other universities on this list, the property crime rates are higher than they could be.

The Southern Utah University police work in tandem with the Cedar City Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to address student safety. As part of these efforts, the school has an emergency notification system that warns people on campus using things like sirens, text messages, and pop-up messages.4

Each year, the university distributes its most recent security and safety report to current students and faculty by email.

Utah State University

#4. Utah State University (Logan)

  • Violent crime rate: 1.4 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 7.1 per 10,000 students

USU students can enjoy ice cream and cheese made from Cache Valley dairy, but they might also fall victim to a crime. Utah State University has the lowest property crime rate out of the six campuses, so theft is less likely there. But chances of being the target of a violent crime are slightly greater at USU than at SUU, WSU, or UVU.

USU’s Department of Public Safety is comprehensive, with its own police department, fire marshal, and Emergency Management office. The department also employs part-time security officers. These employees can’t arrest individuals, but their eyes and ears are valuable assets to campus safety. Additionally, the police department has a timely warning notification process for sharing information about potential campus-wide threats.5

Read Utah State University’s security and safety report to learn more.

Weber State University

#5. Weber State University (Ogden)

  • Violent crime rate: 1.1 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 10.4 per 10,000 students

With its touted nursing and music programs, Weber State is one of Ogden’s major draws. Get this: the university is significantly safer than the city overall. In 2017, the FBI reported 450 incidents of violent crime and 3,808 incidents of property crime in Ogden, a city of 86,000.6 That’s the same as  52.3 per 10,000 for violent crime and 442.8 per 10,000 for property crime.

Weber State University keeps its students safe through its university police force, which acts as a touchpoint for all crime reporting. There’s an on-campus fire marshal and building safety coordinators, who, among other things, monitor evacuation exercises. The school also has an alert system called Code Purple that covers not only natural hazards but also sensitive crime situations like a lockdown due to an active shooter.7

More information about WSU’s safety measures is found in the annual security and safety report.

Utah Valley University

Image courtesy of Utah Valley University

#6. Utah Valley University (Orem)

  • Violent crime rate: 0.3 per 10,000 students
  • Property crime rate: 18.6 per 10,000 students

UVU’s quite popular—it’s now the biggest school in the state, enrollment-wise.8 Even with a booming student roster, its violent crime is relatively low. Property crime, on the other hand, is on the higher side compared to USU and WSU.

Utah Valley University Police Department tracks crime carefully, keeping a daily log of criminal activity. The department’s officers receive at least 40 hours of specialized training a year, some of which is related to working with civilians with mental health issues. These officers patrol the campus in a variety of ways, both in vehicles and on foot, in uniform and out of it.9

Apart from the campus police force, one of UVU’s main crime deterrents is a notification system that includes text alerts and alarms.10

For more information, read the Utah Valley University Annual Security & Fire Report.

Campus safety tips

Know and use student resources at your school

Universities have a responsibility to keep their students safe. Whatever school you attend or are planning to attend, your administration likely offers numerous safety and security resources. It might have free rides home, emergency phones and alert systems, theft prevention programs, and so much more.

Be proactive; find out what resources are available to you. You should be able to find safety information pretty easily on your school’s website. If you attend or want to attend one of the local universities we’ve mentioned, those safety reports we linked are useful resources too.

Use a buddy system

You’re safer in a group of two or more, especially at night. If you’re going to a crowded event, particularly when substances are involved, bring a trusted friend and check in with each other often.

It’s also a great idea to share your location with people you trust on your smartphone, just in case. There are apps that allow you to do this pretty easily (like Find My Friends or Google Maps). Some give you the option to choose how long your location will be visible to others—by the day, the hour, or indefinitely.

Know your limits with alcohol

It’s hard to protect yourself once you’ve had a few, so start your safety before you even start drinking. Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know, and never leave your drink unattended. That way, you won’t drink something that’s not safe or that your body can’t handle.

If you begin to feel too tired or intoxicated, go home. It might be tempting to spend the night, but it’s safer not to sleep at a house party, especially when there are strangers there. Get a ride or have a friend walk you, and check in with someone after.

Finally, keep an eye on your friends. If you see someone doing or planning something that’ll hurt or endanger someone else, speak up and stop them.

Prepare for the worst, both at home and away

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to safety. While these tips may reduce your risk, it’s still important to be prepared for the unexpected.

Consider buying a nonlethal self-defense weapon such as a Taser or pepper spray—something you can discreetly carry on you when you leave home. Whatever you get, make sure that you learn how to use it properly. It also never hurts to take a self-defense class! Universities often offer them to students on campus.

Consider buying a nonlethal self-defense weapon.

If you live in student housing, you benefit from increased security and safety procedures. But if you live off campus, it’s up to you to plan ahead in case of emergencies, such as a fire or a burglary.

In both of those instances, an escape route from your bedroom is essential. (Consider buying an emergency ladder if you’re not on the ground level.) And do a sweep of your house to find out how secure it is. Does it seem easy to break into? Then you may want to get some sort of home security system as an extra line of defense.

Methodology and sources

To create this resource, we looked at 2017 crime reports from the FBI’s online database to find the rate of violent crime and property crime per 10,000 students. We included only universities with more than 10,000 students enrolled.

During our ranking process, we:

  • Weighted violent crime and property crime evenly
  • Included part-time students in student enrollment count
  • Used data from the Utah State University Logan campus and no other USU campus

NOTE: Exercise caution in making any intercampus comparisons or drawing overall school rankings from this data. Many factors affect university/college crime statistics. These include demographic characteristics of the surrounding community, ratio of male to female students, number of on-campus residents, accessibility of the campus to outside visitors, size of enrollment, etc. We emphasized the positive safety elements of each campus to show the efforts being made by these schools to curb crime rates that may be largely out of their control.

Conclusion

While there are no guarantees when it comes to safety, it’s so important to be aware of your environment, campus or otherwise. By preparing yourself and taking advantage of campus resources, you’ll be more likely to stay safe no matter what university you attend.

Sources

  1. The University of Utah, “Safety: Staying Safe and Secure at the U
  2. Brigham Young University, “Annual Security & Fire Safety Reports
  3. Brigham Young University, “Annual Security & Fire Safety Reports
  4. Southern Utah University Police, “Annual Security and Fire Safety Report
  5. Logan Campus, “Annual Campus Security & Fire Safety Report
  6. FBI: UCR, “FBI⁠—Utah
  7. Weber State University Police Department, “Annual Security Report and Fire Report
  8. The Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah Valley University Has Thousands More Students than the University of Utah. But the Orem School’s New President Says It Won’t Start Requiring Higher Test Scores or Grades: ‘Come As You Are.’”
  9. Utah Valley University, “Utah Valley University Annual Security & Fire Report
  10.  Utah Valley University, “Utah Valley University Annual Security & Fire Report

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