HOUSTON - Out of 35 campuses across Texas, the FBI reports Texas Southern University and the University of Houston main campus among those with the most violent crime. The crimes include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and burglary.
TSU is estimated to have nearly 150 violent crimes per 100,000 students and UH about 52 per 100,000 students.
The numbers are based on 2018 crime statistics. Many students at both universities are surprised by the estimates.
“I don’t feel like this campus is an unsafe campus,” said Arun Mahadev, a doctorate student at UH.
“I stay really late on-campus. I’ve never had any issues or any close encounters,” said Avery Hunter, a pharmacy student at TSU.
The actual crime reported gives more perspective. In 2018, UH reported 26 violent crimes and TSU 16.
Most students feel that may have to do more with the surrounding area not so much the universities.
Both schools are neighbors in Houston’s Third Ward.
The FBI also warns that the rankings ignore “the uniqueness of each locale” meaning other factors that can impact the how much and what type of crime in an area.
“One statistic can never fully capture the experience or feeling of the campus,” said Hunter Spencer, a sophomore at UH.
The numbers also only account for campuses that reported numbers to the FBI. Both universities released statements regarding the FBI report.
The University of Houston Police Department said:
The University of Houston is steadfast in its commitment to provide a safe environment for everyone, including our students to learn and succeed. We have created a culture that encourages the campus community to report crimes and implemented a system to ensure transparency and consistency in how crimes are reported to our community and other agencies.
The violent crime rate in the city of Houston is actually 18 times higher than at UH, according to the latest FBI statistics. Our numbers have remained consistent year over year. Being in the heart of a major metropolitan area has many advantages, but it also requires that our campus community play a pivotal role in campus safety. We are committed to making our campus, community, and city as safe as possible and recognize that this is a challenge being faced by all major cities in Texas and across the country.
The FBI cautions against using these crime statistics to compile rankings, as it can lead to “simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions,” and we concur with their disclaimer.
A spokesperson for Texas Southern University sent the following to FOX 26:
First, it’s important to note that 1) not all colleges and universities reported their numbers, so the rankings are incomplete, and 2) calculating based on the number of students and a “100,000” population can be deceiving.
TSU is committed to keeping our students, faculty, staff and entire campus community safe at all times. We take great pride in being an urban campus in the ‘heart and soul’ of Houston, and we strive to make our campus community aware of the resources we’ve employed to keep them safe. This includes our police force, which maintains an active, visible presence on campus at all times. We also provide an escort service that allows anyone on campus to be safely walked to their car or on-campus residence. Additionally, our LiveSafe program gives students and staff resources such as SafeWalk, which is an online, opt-in app that lets our police force track their whereabouts while on campus. It also has a two-way, completely anonymous “see something, say something" feature that allows for reporting of potential threats or unsafe conditions. The safety and wellbeing of our campus community is our top priority.