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School Crime and Safety
(Last Updated: May 2016)

Through nearly two decades of decline, the rate of nonfatal victimization of 12- to 18-year-old students at school fell from 181 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992 to 33 per 1,000 students in 2014. The rate of nonfatal victimization of these students occurring away from school also declined from 173 to 24 victimizations per 1,000 students during the same period.

Between 1992 and 2014, the rates of total nonfatal victimization of 12- to 18-year-old students declined both at school1 and away from school. During these years, the rates of theft, violent crime, and serious violent crime—subsets of total nonfatal victimization—against 12- to 18-year-old students also generally declined. Nonfatal victimizations include theft and all violent crime. Violent crime includes serious violent crime (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) and simple assault.


Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization per 1,000 students ages 12–18, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2014

Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization per 1,000 students ages 12–18, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2014

1 Violent victimization includes serious violent victimization.
NOTE: “Total victimization” includes theft and violent crimes. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. “Theft” does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a serious violent crime. “All violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes as well as simple assault. “Serious violent victimization” includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. “At school” includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school. Due to methodological differences, use caution when comparing 2006 estimates to other years.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 1992–2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 228.20.


In 2014, students ages 12–18 reported 850,000 victimizations (theft and violent crime) at school and 621,000 victimizations away from school. These figures translate to total nonfatal victimization rates of 33 victimizations per 1,000 students at school and 24 per 1,000 students away from school; these rates were not measurably different. From 1992 to 2014, the rate of nonfatal victimization of students at school declined from 181 to 33 victimizations per 1,000 students. The rate of nonfatal victimization of students away from school also declined, from 173 to 24 victimizations per 1,000 students.

Between 1992 and 2014, the rate of theft against students ages 12–18 at school declined (from 114 to 14 thefts per 1,000 students), as did the rate away from school (from 79 to 11 thefts per 1,000 students). Thus, the difference between the theft rates was 35 thefts per 1,000 students in 1992. In 2014, there was no measurable difference between these rates.

Rates of nonfatal violent victimization of 12- to 18-year-old students also decreased both at and away from school between 1992 and 2014. During this period, there was a decline in the rate of violent victimization at school (from 68 to 19 violent victimizations per 1,000 students) as well as away from school (from 94 to 13 violent victimizations per 1,000). In 1992, more violent victimizations occurred away from school (94 per 1,000 students) than at school (68 per 1,000 students); in 2014 the rate of occurrence at school did not differ measurably from the rate of occurrence away from school.

The rate of nonfatal serious violent victimization of students ages 12–18 at school in 2014 was lower than the rate in 1992 (4 serious violent victimizations at school per 1,000 students in 2014, compared with 8 per 1,000 students in 1992). The rate of serious violent victimization away from school decreased from 43 to 6 victimizations per 1,000 students between 1992 and 2014. The difference between rates of serious violent victimization at school and away from school also narrowed over the past two decades. There were 35 more serious violent victimizations per 1,000 students away from school than at school in 1992; there was no measurable difference between the rates of these victimizations at school and away from school in 2014.


Figure 2. Rate of nonfatal victimization per 1,000 students ages 12–18 at and away from school, by type of victimization and age: 2014

Figure 2. Rate of nonfatal victimization per 1,000 students ages 12–18 at and away from school, by type of victimization and age: 2014

! Interpret with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Violent victimization includes serious violent victimization.
NOTE: “Total victimization” includes theft and violent crimes. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. “Theft” does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a serious violent crime. “Violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes as well as simple assault. “Serious violent victimization” includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. “At school” includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 228.25.


For the most part, the rates of nonfatal victimization for 12- to 18-year-old students in 2014 did not measurably differ by sex or age group. Both at school and away from school, the rates of total nonfatal victimization, theft, violent victimization, and serious violent victimization did not measurably differ between males and females in 2014. However, the rate of serious violent victimization at school was lower for students ages 12–14 (2 per 1,000 students) than for students ages 15–18 (6 per 1,000 students). The rates of violent victimization and theft occurring at school did not differ measurably by age group, nor did the rates of theft, violent victimization, and serious violent victimization occurring away from school.


Figure 3. Percentage of public schools that used selected safety and security measures: 1999–2000, 2009–10, and 2013–14

Figure 3. Percentage of public schools that used selected safety and security measures: 1999–2000, 2009–10, and 2013–14

1 For example, locked or monitored doors.
NOTE: Data for 2013–14 were collected using the Fast Response Survey System, while data for earlier years were collected using the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS). The 2013–14 survey was designed to allow comparisons with SSOCS data. However, respondents to the 2013–14 survey could choose either to complete the survey on paper (and mail it back) or to complete the survey online, whereas respondents to SSOCS did not have the option of completing the survey online. The 2013–14 survey also relied on a smaller sample. The smaller sample size and change in survey administration may have impacted 2013-14 results.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999–2000 and 2009–10 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000 and 2010; Fast Response Survey System (FRSS), “School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14,” FRSS 106, 2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 233.50.


Schools use a variety of practices and procedures to promote the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Certain practices, such as locking or monitoring doors and gates, are intended to limit or control access to school campuses, while others, such as the use of metal detectors and security cameras, are intended to monitor or restrict students’ and visitors’ behavior on campus. The percentages of public schools reporting the use of various safety and security measures tended to be higher in 2013–14 than in prior years. For example, the percentage of public schools reporting the use of security cameras increased from 19 percent in 1999–2000 to 75 percent in 2013–14. Similarly, the percentage of public schools reporting that they controlled access to school buildings increased from 75 percent to 93 percent during this time. From 1999–2000 to 2013–14, use of the following safety and security measures also increased: requiring faculty and staff to wear badges or picture IDs, enforcing a strict dress code, using random dog sniffs, requiring school uniforms, and requiring students to wear badges or picture IDs. Conversely, the percentage of schools that reported using random metal detector checks decreased from 7 percent in 1999–2000 to 4 percent in 2013–14.


Figure 4. Percentage of public schools with one or more full-time or part-time security staff present at least once a week, by employment status: Selected years 2005–06 through 2013–14

Figure 4. Percentage of public schools with one or more full-time or part-time security staff present at least once a week, by employment status: Selected years 2005–06 through 2013–14

NOTE: Data for 2013–14 were collected using the Fast Response Survey System, while data for earlier years were collected using the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS). The 2013–14 survey was designed to allow comparisons with SSOCS data. However, respondents to the 2013–14 survey could choose either to complete the survey on paper (and mail it back) or to complete the survey online, whereas respondents to SSOCS did not have the option of completing the survey online. The 2013–14 survey also relied on a smaller sample. The smaller sample size and change in survey administration may have impacted 2013-14 results. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2005–06, 2007–08, and 2009–10 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2006, 2008, and 2010; Fast Response Survey System (FRSS), “School Safety and Discipline: 2013-14,” FRSS 106, 2014. See Digest of Education Statistics 2015, table 233.70.


In the 2013–14 school year, 43 percent of public schools reported the presence of one or more security guards, security personnel, School Resource Officers (SROs), or sworn law enforcement officers who were not SROs at their school at least once a week during the school year.2 The percentage of public schools reporting the presence of any security staff in 2013–14 was not measurably different than in 2005–06, 2007–08, and 2009–10. However, the percentage of public schools reporting the presence of full-time security staff was lower in 2013–14 (24 percent) than in prior years, while the percentage of public schools reporting part-time only security staff in 2013–14 (19 percent) was higher than it was in prior years.


1 At school includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school.
2 Security guards or security personnel do not include law enforcement. School Resource Officers include all career law enforcement officers with arrest authority who have specialized training and are assigned to work in collaboration with school organizations.


Glossary Terms

Data Source

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)