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

Indicator 3: Prevalence of Victimization at School

In 2005, some 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months. About 3 percent reported theft, 1 percent reported violent victimization, and less than half of a percent of students reported serious violent victimization.

Theft is the most frequent type of nonfatal crime in the United States (U.S. Department of Justice 2006). Data from the School Crime Supplement10 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 2005, some 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months. About 3 percent reported theft,11 1 percent reported violent victimization12 (figure 3.1 and table 3.1), and less than half of a percent of students reported serious violent victimization.13

Overall, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who were victimized at school during the previous 6 months decreased between 1995 and 2005 from 10 to 4 percent. For each type of victimization, the percentage of students reporting victimization decreased between 1995 and 2005 (figure 3.1 and table 3.1). Between the most recent survey years (2003 and 2005), the percentage of students reporting victimization declined from 5 to 4 percent, and the percentage reporting theft declined from 4 to 3 percent. There were no measurable changes in the percentages reporting violent and serious violent crime during this period.

In 2005, the 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 measurable differences were detected by sex in the likelihood of reporting theft (3 percent each). There were also no measurable differences in the percentages reporting victimization across grades. Further, in 2005, no measurable differences were detected in the percentages of White, Black, or Hispanic students who reported victimization, theft, or violent victimization. Students in urban schools were more likely to report victimization (5 percent) and theft (4 percent) than students in rural schools (3 and 2 percent, respectively). However, no other measurable differences were observed by urbanicity.


10 In 2005, the unit response rate for this survey did not meet NCES statistical standards; therefore, interpret the data with caution. For more information, please see appendix A PDF File (178 KB).
11 Theft includes purse snatching, pick pocketing, all burglaries, attempted forcible entry, and all attempted and completed thefts except motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery in which threat or use of force is involved.
12 Violent crimes include serious violent crimes and simple assault.
13 Serious violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.

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