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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005

Indicator 7:
Violent and Other Incidents at Public Schools and Those Reported to the Police

In 1999-2000, 71 percent of public schools experienced one or more violent incidents and 36 percent of public schools reported violent incidents to the police.

This indicator presents the percentage of schools that experienced one or more crimes, the total number of these crimes reported by schools, and the rate of crimes per 1,000 students. These data are also presented for the crimes that were reported to the police. In the School Survey on Crime and Safety, public school principals were asked to provide the number of serious violent incidents (rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon); violent incidents (serious violent incidents plus physical attack or fight without a weapon and threat of physical attack without a weapon); thefts valuing $10 or greater; and other incidents that occurred at their school, as well as the number of these incidents reported to the police. In 1999-2000, 86 percent of public schools responded that one or more incidents of crime had taken place (including violent, theft, and other crimes), amounting to an estimated 2.3 million crimes (table 7.1). This figure translates into a rate of 48 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 1999-2000. In the same year, 63 percent of schools reported an incident of crime to the police amounting to about 660,000 crimes—or 14 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled.

In 1999-2000, 71 percent of public schools experienced one or more violent incidents, 20 percent experienced one or more serious violent incidents, 46 percent experienced one or more thefts, and 73 percent experienced another type of crime (figure 7.1 and table 7.1). When looking at reports to the police, 36 percent of public schools reported violent incidents, 15 percent reported serious violent incidents, 28 percent reported thefts, and 52 percent reported other crimes.

The prevalence of violent incidents at school and those reported to the police varied by the level of the school (figure 7.2 and tables 7.2 and 7.3). Primary schools were the least likely to experience any violent incident: 61 percent of primary schools experienced a violent incident, compared with 87 percent of middle schools and 92 percent of secondary schools. Similar relationships were observed for serious violent incidents and those violent and serious violent incidents that were reported to the authorities. However, when looking at the rate of violent crimes per 1,000 students enrolled, secondary schools had lower rates than primary and middle schools. In 1999-2000, there were 22 violent crimes per 1,000 students in secondary schools, compared with 31 and 46 violent crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in primary and middle schools, respectively. Nonetheless, regardless of school level, there were no more than two serious violent crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 1999-2000.

When examining violent incidents by the location of public schools, city schools were more likely than urban fringe schools to experience or report to the police at least one violent incident during the 1999-2000 school year (figure 7.3 and tables 7.2 and 7.3). Seventy-seven percent of city schools had one or more violent incidents, and 44 percent reported one or more incidents to the police, compared with 67 and 35 percent, respectively, of urban fringe schools. Rural schools were the least likely to experience serious violent incidents (12 percent of rural schools vs. 20-27 percent of schools in other locations) and to report serious violent incidents to the police (9 percent vs. 14-21 percent).

Figure 7.1. Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police and the rate per 1,000 students, by type of crime: 1999-2000

Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police 
and the rate per 1,000 students, by type of crime: 1999-2000

NOTE: Either school principals or the person most knowledgeable about discipline issues at school completed the SSOCS questionnaire. Violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Serious violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Theft/larceny (taking things over $10 without personal confrontation) was defined for respondents as, “the unlawful taking of another person’s property without personal confrontation, threat, violence, or bodily harm. Included are pocket picking, stealing purse or backpack (if left unattended or no force was used to take it from owner), theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of bicycles, theft from vending machines, and all other types of thefts.” Other incidents include possession of a firearm or explosive device, possession of a knife or sharp object, distribution of illegal drugs, possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs, sexual harassment, or vandalism. Principals were asked to report crimes that took place in school buildings, on school grounds, and on school buses during normal school hours and at school-sponsored events or activities.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000.
Figure 7.2. Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police, by type of crime and school level: 1999-2000

Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police, 
by type of crime and school level: 1999-2000

NOTE: Either school principals or the person most knowledgeable about discipline issues at school completed the SSOCS questionnaire. Violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Serious violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Theft/larceny (taking things over $10 without personal confrontation) was defined for respondents as, “the unlawful taking of another person’s property without personal confrontation, threat, violence, or bodily harm. Included are pocket picking, stealing purse or backpack (if left unattended or no force was used to take it from owner), theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of bicycles, theft from vending machines, and all other types of thefts.” Other incidents include possession of a firearm or explosive device, possession of a knife or sharp object, distribution of illegal drugs, possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs, sexual harassment, or vandalism. Principals were asked to report crimes that took place in school buildings, on school grounds, and on school buses during normal school hours and at school-sponsored events or activities. Primary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not higher than grade 3 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 8. Middle schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 4 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 9. Secondary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 12. Combined schools include all other combinations of grades, including K-12 schools.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000.
Figure 7.3. Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police, by type of crime and urbanicity: 1999-2000

Percentage of public schools that experienced various types of crime and percentage of public schools that reported various types of crime to the police, 
by type of crime and urbanicity: 1999-2000

NOTE: Either school principals or the person most knowledgeable about discipline issues at school completed the SSOCS questionnaire. Violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Serious violent incidents include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon. Theft/larceny (taking things over $10 without personal confrontation) was defined for respondents as, “the unlawful taking of another person’s property without personal confrontation, threat, violence, or bodily harm. Included are pocket picking, stealing purse or backpack (if left unattended or no force was used to take it from owner), theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of bicycles, theft from vending machines, and all other types of thefts.” Other incidents include possession of a firearm or explosive device, possession of a knife or sharp object, distribution of illegal drugs, possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs, sexual harassment, or vandalism. Principals were asked to report crimes that took place in school buildings, on school grounds, and on school buses during normal school hours and at school-sponsored events or activities.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2000.
View Table 7.1 View Table 7.1View Table 7.2 View Table 7.2View Table 7.3 View Table 7.3


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