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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007
NCES 2008-021
December 2007

Indicator 2: Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School

At school, total crime and theft victimization rates for students were not measurably different between 2004 and 2005. The victimization rate of students age 12 to 18 at school was 55 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2004 and 57 victimizations in 2005.

Theft and violence at school and while going to and from school can lead to a disruptive and threatening environment, physical injury, and emotional stress, and can be an obstacle to student achievement (Elliot, Hamburg, and Williams 1998). Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey show that students age 12 to 18 were victims of about 1.5 million nonfatal crimes (theft plus violent crime) while they were at school and about 1.2 million nonfatal crimes while they were away from school in 2005 (table 2.1).6 These figures represent total crime victimization rates of 57 crimes per 1,000 students at school, and 47 crimes per 1,000 students away from school (figure 2.1 and table 2.1).

Between 1992 and 2005, the total crime victimization rates for students age 12 to 18 generally declined both at school and away from school; this pattern held for the total crime rate as well as for thefts,7 violent crimes,8 and serious violent crimes9 (figure 2.1 and table 2.1). At school, total crime and theft victimization rates for students were not measurably different between 2004 and 2005. The victimization rate of students age 12 to 18 at school was 55 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2004 and 57 victimizations in 2005. There were an estimated 33 theft victimizations per 1,000 students at school in both 2004 and 2005. Away from school, total crime and violent crime victimization rates were also not measurably different between 2004 and 2005. There were 48 total crime victimizations per 1,000 students away from school in 2004 and 47 victimizations in 2005. There were 21 violent victimizations per 1,000 students away from school in 2004 and 24 violent victimizations in 2005.

Generally, more students age 12 to 18 were victims of theft at school than away from school between 1992 and 2005. In 2005, students were victims of 868,000 crimes of theft at school and 610,000 crimes of theft away from school. This translates into 33 thefts per 1,000 students at school, compared to 23 thefts per 1,000 students away from school. From 1992 to 1997, the victimization rates for violent crime were generally lower at school than away from school; however, there were no measurable differences in these rates in the years between 1998 and 2005, except in 2000, when victimization rates at school were lower. The rates for serious violent crime were lower at school than away from school in each survey year from 1992 to 2005. In 2005, students age 12 to 18 were victims of 5 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students at school, compared to 10 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students away from school.

The victimization rates for students age 12 to 18 varied according to certain student characteristics in 2005. A greater percentage of younger students (age 12 to 14) than older students (age 15 to 18) were victims of crime at school, but the reverse was true away from school (figures 2.2 and 2.3 and tables 2.2 and 2.3). Students residing in suburban areas had a lower rate of violent victimization at school and away from school than students in urban areas, while no measurable difference was found between the rates of violent victimization in suburban and rural areas.


6 "Students" refers to youth ages 12–18 whose educational attainment did not exceed grade 12 at the time of the survey. An uncertain percentage of these persons may not have attended school during the survey reference period. These data do not take into account the number of hours that students spend at school or away from school.
7 Theft includes purse snatching, pick pocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts except motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery in which threat or use of force is involved.
8 Violent crimes include serious violent crimes and simple assault.
9 Serious violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.

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