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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005

Indicator 1:
Violent Deaths at School and Away From School

Between the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years, the number of homicides of youth ages 5-19 decreased at school (from 33 to 14 homicides). Since then, there have been between 12 and 17 homicides in each school year through 2001-02.3

Violent deaths in schools are rare but tragic events with far-reaching effects on the school population and surrounding community (Small and Dressler-Tetrick 2001). From July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002, there were 38 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States (table 1.1). In this indicator, a school-associated violent death is a homicide, suicide, legal intervention (involving a law enforcement officer), or unintentional firearm-related death in which the fatal injury occurred on the campus of a functioning elementary or secondary school in the United States. Deaths that occurred while the victim was on the way to or from regular sessions at school, or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event, were also considered school-associated violent deaths. Victims of school-associated violent deaths include students, staff members, and others who were not students. Data were drawn from a number of datasets to enable comparisons of homicides and suicides at school and away from school. Data for school-associated violent deaths of youth ages 5-19 during the 1999-2000 through 2001-02 school years are preliminary.

From July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002, there were 17 homicides and 5 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5-19) at school (table 1.1).4 Combined, this number translates into less than 1 homicide or suicide of a school-age youth at school per million students enrolled during the 2001-02 school year.5 Away from school, there were 2,036 homicides of youth ages 5-19. The most recent data available for suicides of youth ages 5-19 away from school are from calendar year 2002. That year, 5 school-age youth committed suicide at school, and 1,772 school-age youth committed suicide away from school (figure 1.1).6

Over the 10-year time period from July 1, 1992, through June 30, 2002, there were 462 school-associated violent deaths on campuses of U.S. elementary or secondary schools. Of these violent deaths, 261 were homicides and 55 were suicides of school–age youth. Between July 1, 1992, and June 30, 1999, no consistent pattern of increase or decrease was observed in the number of homicides at school (figure 1.2 and table 1.1). During this period, between 28 and 34 homicides of school-age youth occurred at school in each school year. However, the number of homicides of school-age youth at school declined between the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years: from 33 to 14 homicides. Between the 1992 and 2002 school years, between 1 and 8 school-age youth committed suicide at school with no consistent pattern of increase or decrease. In each school year, youth were over 70 times more likely to be murdered and 240 times more likely to commit suicide away from school than at school.


3 Due to missing data for suicides for the 2002-03 school year, the findings for this indicator reflect data through the 2001-02 school year.
4 Between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2002, there were 38 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths, including 27 homicides and 9 suicides.
5 The total projected number of students in prekindergarten through 12th grade enrolled during the fall 2002 school year was 54,158,000 (U.S. Department of Education 2004b).
6 Suicides at school are for the 2001-02 school year and suicides away from school are for the 2002 calendar year.


Figure 1.1. Number of homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19, by location: 2001-02

Number of homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19, by location: 2001-02

1 Youth ages 5-19 from July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002. Data are preliminary and subject to change.
2 Youth ages 5-19 from July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002. Data are preliminary and subject to change.
3 Youth ages 5-19 in the 2002 calendar year. Data are preliminary and subject to change.
NOTE: “At school” includes on school property, on the way to or from regular sessions at school, and while attending or traveling to or from a school-sponsored event. Due to missing data for suicides for the 2002-03 school year, the findings for this indicator reflect data through the 2001-02 school year.
SOURCE: Data on homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19 at school and total school-associated violent deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2001-02 School-Associated Violent Deaths Surveillance Study, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, previously unpublished tabulation (March 2005); data on suicides of youth ages 5-19 from the CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System Fatal (WISQARSTM Fatal) (2005), retrieved March 2005 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars; and data on homicides of youth ages 5-19 away from school for the 2001-02 school year from the Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and tabulated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, preliminary data (March 2005).
Figure 1.2. Number of homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19 at school: 1992-2002

Number of homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19 at school: 1992-2002

1 Data are preliminary and subject to change.
2 Homicides and suicides of youth ages 5-19 at school from July 1, 1992, through June 30, 2002.
NOTE: “At school” includes on school property, on the way to or from regular sessions at school, and while attending or traveling to or from a school-sponsored event. Due to missing data for suicides for the 2002-03 school year, the findings for this indicator reflect data through the 2001-02 school year.
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1992-2002 School-Associated Violent Deaths Surveillance System, previously unpublished tabulation (March 2005).
View Table 1.1 View Table 1.1


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