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Violence against college students seen as less likely

WASHINGTON -- College students are less likely than other people their age to be victims of violent crimes, but both groups have seen a sharp decline in rapes, robberies, and assaults, the government reported yesterday.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics report found that 68 of every 1,000 college students between ages 18 and 24 were victimized, compared with 82 for every 1,000 nonstudents in the same age bracket. The figures cover 1995 to 2000.

The report found that violent crime declined by 40 percent for college students and 44 percent for nonstudents during that period.

The study offers no theories on why college students are less likely to be crime victims, but Terry Hartle, senior vice president for the American Council on Education, said investments in campus security have helped cut violent crime.

"In the last decade, colleges and universities have spent millions of dollars on security forces, on call-box systems, on lighting, on student escort services, and other appropriate security measures," said Hartle, whose trade association represents 1,800 public and private colleges and universities. "Those investments have paid off."

Of the nation's 7.7 million college students, an average of 526,000 a year were victims of violent crimes, the report said. The vast majority of those crimes, 492,000, were committed off-campus.

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