Violence in Colleges causes

When the statistics for violent crimes on college campuses are examined, the violent categories can include robbery, sexual assault that is not related to incest or statutory rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault and arson.

Most studies of violence on campus come with caveats that include the age of the study, the reliability, duration and location of the study and the definition of terms and concepts that are used.

A study that was done in 2008 by the US Department of Education, for example, might not be the most current support for coming to conclusions in 2010. A study that included incest and consensual sex with a minor as a violent crime might not be as reliable as one that only included the number of forcible rapes and physical molestations.

There is a difference between anecdotal recounting and law enforcement records where complaints were filed and examinations,  rape kits and physical evidence were collected.

In some cases, death due to violent horseplay, extreme hazing or dangerous pranking as opposed to deaths that were from intent to murder is of great importance in defining what constitutes violence on college campuses.

The most prominent type of campus crime has always been assault, rape and battery against women. The considerations include the vast sizes of college campuses, the requirement for women to go about after dark, into isolated or unprotected areas alone, and in structures that may have large, empty areas. This is enough to explain why sexual predators who use violence and force find college campuses to be prime hunting grounds.

Despite all of the training, security escort, cameras, patrols, curfew and other programs, there are simply times when a victim must go to an isolated area, walk or ride a bike through vast and unpopulated areas and parking lots, and work in labs and huge structures alone. This is the prime setup for opportunistic sexual and other human predators.

These campus layouts and activities may trigger an individual to act out, to bring fantasies to reality, to carry on with predispositions and to even hone their predatory skills because of the many opportunities for planning, attacking and getting away unidentified and undetected.

College is the young person’s working laboratory for growing up and for exploring romantic relationships on a far more serious level than when they were in high school. In high school, they were under the control of school and parental authority and scrutiny. In college, there is much less authority and scrutiny unless there is a strict dorm, frat and sorority house and curfew program.

The relative lack of life experience and maturity may be a contributing factor to young people not being able to detect problematic behavior, to identify problematic individuals and to know when they are in problematic relationships. The only good news is that there is a far greater population of older, wiser and more experienced individuals who can impart more advanced wisdom as long as the problematic partner does not succeed in isolating their victims from others.

Alcohol is a major factor in violent crimes that range from dangerous pranks to brawls and fights that may go on after the initial disputes are over. Young people who are under the influence are capable of behaving in ways that they may have never behaved before because of the vast and new diversity in people and in types of people that they will encounter in college. College is no longer the homogenized, well known environment of people and personalities that the new students are used to.

Whether drunk driving that leads to death is included in the violent crime category for a college violence survey or not, killing someone or damaging property while under the influence of alcohol is a violent crime, and alcohol abuse is a major problem in colleges.

Drug abuse, drug dealing, and drug buying is another contributor to campus violent crime. There is the drug dealing organization that will find a way on to a campus in order to enforce its rules, territory and debt collection policies. There are those who become violent when under the influence of drugs. There are gang, cartel and other affiliations that intrude into college life.  Drug problems penetrate all levels of college hierarchies and all members of the college population, including staff, outside visitors and students.

Gang and other criminal groups have penetrated college life with violent results that have nothing to do with the college or its students. When the public are invited to college events, parties, games and concerts, then any resulting violence is definitely campus violence. These events raise money for the school and the foundations, of course. But while the student population may be somewhat identifiable and controllable, the general public requires crowd control under conditions that are as challenging as the conditions at any public concert halls, arenas, bars or other public venues.

Hate crimes, whether by outsiders who have a political agenda and see a captive audience of victims or whether the actions of students who arrived at school with emotional and other problems are a major issue. Vandalism may not be seen as a violent crime until a certain dollar threshold is reached. Perhaps minor arson, one of the major tells of a sociopath’s mentality, will be written off as a minor prank.

It is as difficult to corral violent behavior into the hate crime category as it is to sanction law enforcers who use a racial or homophobic slur in the heat of an altercation. As long as there are preexisting disputes between individuals, slick behavior on the part of the attacker that covers up the hate motive or reluctance by campus authorities to acknowledge that a crime was even committed, then hate crimes will not be an easy category of violent crime to identify or quantify. This serves as an encouragement to more hate crimes because they do not result in any real identification or punishment as hate crimes.

Finally, college campuses are open to attack by anyone who takes the time to find the optimal place, time and plan for mass shootings, spectacular violence or serial violence. There are pipe bomb call-in threats, serial killers, violent anti animal abuse and other violent protests. There are both well controlled and out of control psychopaths and sociopaths who find the college campus and the surrounding communities and housing areas as perfect places in which to operate. 

In summary, violence against women, violence under the influence of drugs and alcohol, gang and drug organization violence, hate related violence and political violence may occur at colleges simply because college campuses present the optimal combination of open spaces, vulnerable faces and hiding places.