U.S. News and World Report recently published tips for researching the safety of a campus before you apply.  In particular, they advise prospective students and their parents to look at safety statistics for the campus and surrounding area:
Beginning the search is simple, [Rob Hardin, assistant director of admissions and international student recruitment at the University of Oregon] notes: In the search bar on a college's website, "Type in safety; hit enter; see what comes up," he says. 

By federal law, all U.S. colleges must disclose campus crime statistics, including counts of rape, murder, robbery, and arson. You may be able to find this information posted somewhere on the school's website, or through the Department of Education's online Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool

Beyond statistics, look for precautionary steps colleges take, including late-night escort services that will deliver your child back to their dorm room and designated safe spots on campus to call for help during emergencies. Check to make sure the schools your child is considering are transparent about safety, Hardin recommends. 

They also recommend getting information on campus safety from the college admissions office, and an unbiased perspective from an EducationUSA advisor.

[Read the full U.S. News and World Report article]

Today's news of a shooting near Texas A&M University, following on the heels of the mass shootings in a theater in Colorado and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, may understandably put people on edge about gun violence in the U.S.

"Shootings in high schools and colleges are unfortunately very ?American? things in my mind," our blogger Nareg said when we first raised this issue in response to a foiled campus shooting 2 years ago. "Maybe it?s because of the media coverage, but I?m not sure if I?ve ever heard of such tragic incidents with such regularity in other parts of the world."

But he added, "I study at a small college, where we all know each other. That makes me feel pretty secure. If a student shows worrisome tendencies, they usually become clear to those around him, who can hopefully take responsible measures."

Senzeni added, "Yes, there are a lot of crimes that have taken place around me but their number is offset by the number of measures that my school (Yale University) has put in place to protect me and everyone enrolled within it."

"Yale provides a 24 hour daily shuttle service that is just a phone call away. Whether I?m coming from a failed attempt to pull off an all-nighter (all-night study)in the library or from a failed attempt to crash a frat party, they?ll come pick me up. If instead I chose to walk, I can call the Yale Escort Service and after a wait of under 10 minutes, an escort will take me to my room. This is not to say that walking alone at night is not perfectly possible. There are also always security officers on patrol on campus even during the day!"