Date of Conferral
Carolyn B. Dennis
The purpose of this study was assessing the perceptions of student's on how the campus climate impacts their likelihood of reporting crime. Victimization studies have been conducted at large universities and community colleges; however, there remains a lack of research regarding private colleges. This study was designed to examine the reasoning behind students' crime-reporting behaviors and the influencers that impact their decisions. Cohen and Felson's routine activity theory along with the collective-efficacy theory were used as frameworks to analyze the crimes that occur to college students as well as to explore the reasons for not reporting some crimes to law enforcement. This research utilized archival data from a private (not-for-profit) college in the Midwest United States. The data were analyzed through coding and thematic development, supported by secondary coding review and member checks. Concepts explored through this study included examining students' perceptions on their likelihood of reporting crime and victimization as well as students' feelings of safety while at college. Results showed that students voiced consistent beliefs that their peers were likely to report crime and several factors influenced the reporting of crimes or victimization by students. Findings also showed that students felt generally safe while attending college but expressed a need for improved safety systems on the campus. These findings draw no definitive conclusions about why students choose to not report crime but do promote social change by helping administrators develop policies that collaboratively engage students, law enforcement, and campus officials with crime reporting and education programs to reduce the underreporting of crime and victimization.