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

Indicator 21: Students' Reports of Safety and Security Measures Observed at School

The percentage of students who reported observing the use of security cameras at their schools increased from 39 to 58 percent between 2001 and 2005.

Schools use a variety of measures to promote the safety of students, ranging from codes of student conduct to metal detectors. In the School Crime Supplement28 to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked whether their school used certain security measures.29 Security measures include metal detectors, locker checks, security cameras, security guards or police officers, adult supervision in hallways, badges or picture identification for students, a code of student conduct, locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and a requirement that visitors sign in. In 2005, nearly all (99 percent) students ages 12–18 observed the use of at least one of the selected security measures at their school (table 21.1).

In 2005, the vast majority of students ages 12–18 reported that their school had a student code of conduct (95 percent) and a requirement that visitors sign in (93 percent; figure 21.1 and table 21.1). Ninety percent of students reported observing school staff or other adult supervision in the hallway, and 68 percent reported the presence of security guards and/or assigned police officers. Between 53 and 58 percent of students reported locker checks, locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and security cameras at their schools. One-quarter of students reported that badges or picture identification were required. Metal detectors were the least observed of the selected safety and security measures: 11 percent of students reported the use of metal detectors at their school.

The percentage of students reporting the presence of many of the selected security measures increased between 2001 and 2005 (figure 21.1 and table 21.1). For example, the percentage of students who observed the use of security cameras at their schools increased from 39 to 58 percent during this period, and the percentage who reported that students were required to wear badges or picture identification increased from 21 to 25 percent. Between 1999 and 2005, there was also an increase in the percentage of students observing locked entrance or exit doors during the day (from 38 to 54 percent), the percentage reporting a visitor sign-in requirement (from 87 to 93 percent), and the percentage reporting the presence of security guards and/or assigned police officers (from 54 to 68 percent). No differences were detected in the percentage of students reporting locker checks or a code of student conduct in their schools across all survey years.


28 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).
29 Readers should note that this indicator relies on student reports of security measures and provides estimates based on students' awareness of the measure rather than on documented practice. See Indicator 20 for a summary of the use of various security measures as reported by schools.

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