Montana universities left out of top 100 in college safety study

The University of Montana and Montana State University were left out of the top 100 in a study outlining the country's safest universities.

The University of Montana and Montana State University were not included in the National Council for Home Safety and Security’s annual Safest College Campuses in America report for 2018.

The study uses data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the U.S. Department of Education’s Clery data to assign safety scores to colleges across the country. Brigham Young University-Idaho took the top spot, reporting three rapes in 2016 according to Clery data.

Montana State University ranked 116th, with 21 reported cases of rape, five arsons and two assaults in 2016, per data from the U.S. Department of Education. The University of Montana came in at 206th with 12 reported rapes and more burglaries compared to MSU and BYU-Idaho.

MSU Police chief Frank Parrish told NBC Montana the numbers don’t tell the whole story, since the study is based on reported crimes, rather than those currently in court or ones that could be settled.

“One of the dynamics in statistics is, the more people trust law enforcement, they trust us to keep their information confidential and they trust us to look out for their best interest, the more likely they are to report a crime,” Parrish said. “That can also show an increase in crime reporting that is actually a beneficial factor."

Parrish said the department will work with city and county law enforcement to investigate sexual assault cases going forward.

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