Criminal background checks and screening questions asking students to self-report past crimes used during the admissions process used to reduce crime on college campuses cannot fully predict or detect students likely to commit crimes, according to a study published in the journal Injury Prevention.
However, the study – authored by Carol Runyan, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, Colorado – found that students with criminal records prior to college were more likely to engage in criminal activity during college than students with no criminal records.
The findings of the study, which surveyed 6,972 students at a large southern university, showed 8.5 percent of applicants with a criminal history were charged with crimes during college while only 3.3 percent with pre-college criminal histories self-reported misconduct during the admissions process.
According to a statement from the author published in an article on UPI.com, the study ignored cheating or minor alcohol offenses and “focused on significant offenses like assault, robbery, property crimes, driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana use and other drug-related crimes.”
The study instead used methods described in the study abstract that “identified college misconduct through college records and self-reports on a confidential survey of graduating seniors, and examined precollege behavior as indicated on admissions records, a survey, and criminal background checks.”
The original article that the study is based on – ‘Can student-perpetrated college crime be predicted based on precollege misconduct?’ – is available on the Injury Prevention journal website at http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2013/02/22/injuryprev-2012-040644.short?g=w_injuryprevention_ahead_tab.
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