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

Indicator 6: Violent and Other Crime Incidents at Public Schools and Those Reported to the Police

In 2005–06, 78 percent of schools experienced one or more violent incidents of crime, 17 percent experienced one or more serious violent incidents, 46 percent experienced one or more thefts, and 68 percent experienced another type of crime.

This indicator presents the percentage of schools that experienced one or more specified 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,14 violent incidents,15 thefts of items valued at $10 or greater, and other incidents16 that occurred at their school, as well as the number of these incidents reported to the police. During the 2005–06 school year, 86 percent of public schools responded that one or more incidents of these crimes had taken place (including violent incidents, theft, and other crimes), amounting to an estimated 2.2 million crimes (figure 6.1 and table 6.1). This figure translates into a rate of 46 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 2005–06. During the same year, 61 percent of schools reported an incident of one of the specified crimes to the police, amounting to about 763,000 crimes—or 16 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled.

In 2005–06, 78 percent of schools experienced one or more violent incidents of crime, 17 percent experienced one or more serious violent incidents, 46 percent experienced one or more thefts, and 68 percent experienced another type of crime. Thirty-eight percent of public schools reported at least one violent incident to police, 13 percent reported at least one serious violent incident to police, 28 percent reported at least one theft to police, and 51 percent reported one of the other specified crimes to police.

The prevalence of violent incidents at public schools and those reported to the police varied by school level (figure 6.2 and tables 6.2 and 6.3). A smaller percentage of primary schools than middle or high schools experienced any violent incident: 67 percent of primary schools did so, compared to 94 percent of middle schools and 95 percent of high schools. Similar relationships were observed for serious violent incidents, theft, and other incidents. However, both primary schools and high schools had lower rates of violent crime per 1,000 students than middle schools. In 2005–06, there were 25 to 26 violent crimes per 1,000 students in primary schools and high schools, compared to 52 violent crimes in middle schools. Rates of serious violent crime ranged between 1 and 2 per 1,000 students for different school levels in 2005–06.

The percentage of public schools experiencing incidents of crime was lower in 2005–06 than in 2003–04. In 2003–04, 88 percent of schools experienced crimes, compared to 86 percent of schools in 2005–06 (figure 6.3 and table 6.1). The percentage of schools experiencing crimes in 2005–06 was not measurably different from the percentage of schools experiencing crimes in 1999–2000. The percentage of public schools that reported crimes to the police followed a similar pattern. In 1999–2000, 62 percent of schools reported crimes to the police, in 2003–04, 65 percent of schools reported crimes to the police, and in 2005–06, 61 percent of schools did so.


14 Serious violent incidents include rape or attempted 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.
15 Violent incidents include serious violent incidents plus physical attacks or fights without a weapon and threats of physical attacks without a weapon.
16 Other incidents include possession of a firearm or explosive device, possession of a knife or sharp object, distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol, and vandalism.

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