This post reflects my opinion. I urge those considering Binghamton University to carefully examine Binghamton City crime rates. Those not deterred should take steps to avoid being victimized once they arrive. Those at most risk are students from places like NYC who think the area doesn’t “seem” dangerous. Binghamton is not NYC. There is a large violent gang presence in Binghamton. Gang members reside and spend time in the exact same locations as students in downtown Binghamton. They target students. This has been true for the past decade but it has gotten progressively worse. Anyone denying this is ill-informed or lying.
While the Vestal campus is relatively safe, downtown Binghamton is dangerous. Most of the campus buildings are located in Vestal but students spend considerable time downtown. The university established a downtown campus that, among other resources, houses the College of Community and Public Affairs which includes both undergraduate and graduate programs. Further, students tend to prefer the unique cafes, bars, clubs, and restaurants in downtown Binghamton to the chains and big box stores in strip malls that line the Vestal parkway. Overall violent crime rates in Binghamton are twice the national average as is the total crime rate and rate for rape; the murder rate is triple that for NY. And yet even those stats under-estimates the risk in the areas students spend the most time. In the past couple of years Binghamton students have been mugged, assaulted and raped in and around Binghamton. A couple of students were killed towards the end of the last academic year. As both victims and those suspected of being perpetrators were students, the deaths may be unrelated to general Binghamton City crime, although that is not yet clear. What is clear is that the crime isn’t random. Students are targeted.
If you are interested in the school, conduct a thorough search of the local newspapers and other resources by using terms like “assault”, Binghamton University” and “student”. Pipe Dream, the student newspaper, has also addressed the issue in several articles. Binghamton City “police crime maps”, available on the internet, allow you to identify the exact location of every violent crime event. Maps are available for 7 years although the most recent is 2016. Examine crime in and around downtown Binghamton. According to an article in a local paper, “While the violent crime rate in the city surged 33.5% over the last five years, the property crime rate fell 19.1%.” Broome County’s overall crime rates suggest that the area is safe until you consider that almost all of the crime in the entire county is most heavily concentrated in a few city blocks shared by students and gangs. While most of the rest of the county is safe.
Do not rely on the university stats to accurately reflect the genuine level of risk to students. For various reasons (none the fault of the school), the stats don’t reflect the number of students killed, assaulted, raped or otherwise harmed in Binghamton and the surrounding areas. Those claiming that crime happens everywhere are missing the point. The crime in Binghamton is not just like everywhere else. Yes there are more dangerous places. But the crime in Binghamton is worse and more violent than most places.
When I’ve discussed Binghamton crime rates in the past, former students were quick to “defend” the school and denounce my warnings. Doing so is a disservice to prospective and current students. This post is neither an attack on or praise of the school. It is a frank discussion of crime in Binghamton. Students can lower risk. But not unless there is frank information available to students about their risk level. Binghamton is a dangerous place right now. There’s just no getting around that fact. Hopefully it will change. There may be all kinds of wonderful things about the school that might make attending worth taking the risk. That’s an individual choice. But you have a right to know the real situation.
Making an informed decision about college entails considering all relevant facts.