Theft is the most frequent type of nonfatal crime in the United States, though violent crime continues to be important in examining school safety (U.S. Department of Justice 2000). Data from the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey show the percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported criminal victimization at school during the previous 6 months. In 2003, 5 percent of students ages 12-18 reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months: 4 percent reported theft, and 1 percent reported violent victimization (serious violent victimization plus simple assaults; table 3.1). Less than 1 percent of students reported serious violent victimization (including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault).
Overall, the percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months decreased between 1995 and 2003 (from 10 to 5 percent); however, no difference was detected between the percentage of students victimized in the most recent survey years, 2001 and 2003 (figure 3.1 and table 3.1). This pattern was true for both the percentage of students who reported being victims of theft and those who were victims of violent crime.
In 2003, prevalence of victimization varied somewhat according to student characteristics. Male students were more likely than female students to report being victims of violent crime at school (2 vs. 1 percent), but no difference was detected in their likelihood of reporting theft (4 percent for both). In the same year, 6th-graders were less likely than 7th-graders to be victims of theft, and 12th-graders were less likely to report being victims of violent crime than students in the lower grades (6th through 9th grades; figure 3.2 and table 3.1). Hispanic students were less likely than White students to report being victims of theft (3 vs. 4 percent), and students in urban schools were more likely than their rural school counterparts to report being victims of violent crime (2 vs. 1 percent). Differences in the prevalence of victimization of students who attended public versus private schools were found for sector of school by serious violent victimization in 1995 (0.7 vs. 0.1 percent) and sector by theft victimization in 1995 and 2001 (7.3 vs. 5.2 percent; 4.4 vs. 2.5 percent, respectively). Nonetheless, few other differences were detected, and no more than 2 percent of students reported being victims of violent crime in 2003—regardless of their student characteristics.
|View Table 3.1|