In case you missed it: Just before the holiday break the website Business Insider published a ranking of American college campuses with the worst crime rates.
UCLA came in at numero uno. WTF!? you say? Yeah, UCLA officials essentially said the same thing.
They told us this week that, while Business Insider has published its objections, it has yet to retract the clearly flawed ranking:
The school says the rankings are flawed because stats were drawn from the campus-based University of California (UCLA) police, who patrol far-flung neighborhoods way off-campus and away from Westwood.
(It's true. The the school has graduate student and family housing complexes south of the 10 freeway along the 405; we've seen UCLA police patrolling streets as far south as Venice Boulevard. As such, they can and do pull over cars and stop pedestrians along the way and have been involved in backing up the LAPD on high-profile "stops.")
The school says:
It turns out that what Business Insider reports as "crimes on college campuses" is not that at all. The statistics used by the website use crime reports taken by University of California police based at UCLA. Problem is, UCLA police take crime reports from a wide area: the campus itself, the neighboring residential and business districts of Westwood, West Los Angeles and beyond, and from UCLA medical centers and clinics around Los Angeles County, which has a population of more than nine million people. The statistics cited by Business Insider paint a picture of a much larger urban area than just the campus.
UCLA also notes that its Westwood environs consistently comprise one of L.A.'s most low-crime areas. Not so for USC's Southwest L.A. neighborhood which, despite two murders and a Halloween shooting this year, failed to make the list.
In fact UCLA is snugged beneath the hills of Bel Air, one of the wealthiest swaths of real estate on the planet.
The ranking, UCLA says, is "heavily weighted toward public institutions" (and we spotted only a few private schools, such as Duke). San Diego State, not exactly in a crime Mecca itself, ranked number 4.
The headline itself, "The 25 Most Dangerous Colleges in America," made some administrators see red. UC Riverside's Kris Lovekin told the website the "hed" was "intentionally inflammatory."
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The publication apparently added a note stating that ...
... When campus police jurisdiction extends into neighboring off-campus areas -- as at University of California schools -- crime numbers may be elevated.
But it hasn't retracted the ranking. Why? We reached out to ask just that question but had yet to hear back.