ISU rated safest campus in Iowa, top 50 nationwide


The Campanile in November, taken from the southeast.

Tyrus Pavicich

The National Council for Home Safety and Security (NCHSS) has ranked Iowa State as the 28th safest campus in the nation in their 2018 Safest College Campuses report.

This is a drop from their 2017 report, which listed Iowa State 10 spots higher at 18th.

Cmdr. Geoff Huff, Ames Police Department’s public information officer, is dubious about claims Ames is less safe than previous years.

“Ames is a safe city,” Huff said. “We still average about one homicide every year. Nothing’s changed.”

Although the NCHSS itself does not offer a reason for the drop, their website states rankings are based on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the Campus Safety Security Survey put out by the U.S. Department of Education.

Based on the most recent data published by the Department of Education, crime on campus and in Ames as a whole has fallen in most categories, but the number of reported rapes has consistently increased since 2014.

That statistic, however, isn’t necessarily representative of reality.

“They may say that sexual assaults are up, but really that means that sexual assault reports are up,” said Huff, pointing to initiatives such as Iowa State’s Green Dot program and ISU Police Department’s involvement in the global Start by Believing campaign against sexual violence.

The growing number of reported sexual assaults on campus since 2014 aligns with ISU Police’s adoption of Start by Believing, indicating the campaign may be accomplishing one of its goals by encouraging more victims to come forward and report incidents to appropriate authorities, although it’s not clear whether or not that is the sole reason for rising numbers.