Journal Articles

Campus Crime: Legal, Social, and Policy Perspective (second edition)

Categories: Issue 33(1), Book Reviews

Book by Bonnie Fisher & John Sloan III
Review by Andrea Weber
Advising Resource Center
North Dakota State University

Campus Crime: Legal, Social, and Policy Perspectives 2nd edition provides an overview of campus security issues by explaining the laws and research behind the policies and programs that have been implemented across university campuses to increase safety.

This text begins with a thorough explanation of the Clery Act and its impact on higher education, which requires campuses to publically report incidents of campus crime. Throughout the remainder of the text, contributors from relevant fields explain how the Clery Act has made reporting crime on campuses more consistent, but not necessarily made campuses safer. Further chapters present social science research of crime that occurs on and off college campuses and provides comparisons. Many campuses use the results of this research to write new policy as well as establish crime prevention programs and efforts, such as adding increased lighting in parking lots or programming on sexual assault prevention.

The authors bring up a valid point; students that live and/or study on campus have an increased source of protection and risk factors in comparison to individuals who are not students. Campuses provide security measures that are not as available to persons outside the campus, but the authors also describe the college campus as “cities within cities” (p. 280), thus providing opportunities for crime to occur because of decreased guardianship (e.g., absence of parents or other authorities to protect or guide decision making), being in situations with large numbers of others (e.g., living in the residence halls, large gatherings in common areas, or attending parties), or having a daily routine or lifestyle that would put one in contact with others that may offend (e.g. going to a class, the library, or gym at a certain time every day at a specific time in that someone would notice a pattern). The often cited instances of campus crime that contributors discuss include: drug and alcohol use (as a contributing factor to instances of crime), theft of property, and sexual victimization. Emerging issues on college campuses include cybercrime, which includes identity theft, computer hacking, pirating of intellectual property, and cyber-stalking.

Though important to understand the Clery Act and legal policy regarding campus crime, the most relevant information in the text for an academic advisor is likely the section dedicated to the social context of crime. This section describes types and frequencies of crimes that occur on college campuses or to college-aged people. The authors cite that college students are less likely to report when they are a victim of crime. In turn, just because a crime did not get reported does not mean the student is not affected in ways that can impact their academic success. Depending on an advisor’s relationship with their students, an academic advisor may be a trusted member of the campus that these students disclose details of their victimization to seeking ways to cope or advice as to what to do next. The authors recommend as a best practice to become familiar with campus and community resources to refer these students to for further help.

I would recommend this book to advisors and most certainly to include discussions regarding national and local crime statistics in advisor and other training and meetings.


Campus Crime: Legal, Social, and Policy Perspectives (second edition). (2007). Book by Bonnie Fisher & John Sloan, III. Review by Andrea Weber. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 347 pp. Price: $74.95 (Hardback). ISBN # 978-0-398-07736-5.