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Report: NMSU is second most dangerous college in country

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Nov 26 2012 09:27:38 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 25 2012 05:53:07 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

A new report claims two of the most dangerous colleges in the country are in New Mexico.

According to Business Insider, New Mexico State University is ranked the second most dangerous college in the country.

The University of New Mexico ranks eighth.

Students at NMSU were shocked to hear their school ranked so high on the list.

"That's scary. You don't know what could be happening here. Just to think that new students are coming here all the time. They're telling us new students that it's safe here," said NMSU student Kaci Bell.

"I wouldn't expect it. In the duration that I've been here, it's been really calm, peaceful. I've heard of a couple isolated violent incidents here and there, but I wouldn't think it would account for us being one of the more violent colleges in the states," NMSU student Alfred Kahsin told ABC-7.

The writers of the report said they averaged FBI crime data per capita from 2008 to 2011.

The report said NMSU averages 22 violent crimes a year. That includes murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery.

The campus hasn't had a murder in more than a decade.

"I always feel safe. I never feel like I have to watch my back or anything," Kahsin said.

University officials disputed the report in a written statement, "The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority at New Mexico State University. The university is committed to reporting all public safety matters including any crimes accurately and quickly and encourages the prompt reporting of crimes or suspicious activity in order to promote the safety of the campus. The authors of this report have misused the data in a way the FBI specifically cautions against, creating misleading perceptions. To call NMSU dangerous is a mischaracterization of the data."

Students on campus don't recall many violent incidents.

"There was a lady who got shot here at the UNM and Aggie game, but that wasn't anyone shooting at her. They just shot a bullet in the air and a stray one hit her, but that's the most violent thing I've heard of on campus," said Kahsin.

"I was just going on a run, and it was kind of late at night. I was just being followed by this car that was kind of sketchy at the time. It just seemed like a bad situation. It ended up being okay, but there are people out there that can do bad things," said another student.

According to the NMSU police department's annual report, there were 19 reported rapes and 35 aggravated assaults on campus in the last four years.

Many students were quick to defend their school.

"I think for the most part it's safe. Every campus has its areas of safety. I feel pretty safe," Bell said.

"You always see the campus PD rolling by and everything. They do a really good job of taking care of everything, keeping it in check," Kahsin said.

The number one spot on the list went to the University of California-Los Angeles with an average of 49 violent crimes a year.

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