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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008
NCES 2009-022
April 2009

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

In 2006, the rate for serious violent crime was lower at school than away from school, while the rate for theft was higher at school than away from school. There was no measurable difference between the victimization rates for violent crime at school and away from school.

Theft and violence both at school and while going to and from school can lead to a disruptive and threatening environment, physical injury, emotional stress, and can be an obstacle to student achievement (MacMillan and Hagan 2004; Elliot, Hamburg, and Williams 1998). In 2006, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey6 showed that students ages 12–18 were victims of about 1.7 million nonfatal crimes (theft7 plus violent crime8) while they were at school9 and about 1.3 million nonfatal crimes while they were away from school in 2006 (table 2.1).10,11 These figures represent total crime victimization rates of 63 crimes per 1,000 students at school, and 49 crimes per 1,000 students away from school (table 2.1).

In 2006, students were victims of 909,500 crimes of theft at school and 659,400 crimes of theft away from school. This translates into 34 thefts per 1,000 students at school, compared to 25 thefts per 1,000 students away from school. There was no measurable difference between the victimization rates for violent crime at school and away from school. At school there were 29 violent crimes per 1,000 students. Away from school, there were 24 violent crimes per 1,000 students. The rate for serious violent crime12 was lower at school than away from school in 2006. Students age 12–18 were victims of 6 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students at school, compared to 11 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students away from school.

The victimization rates for students ages 12–18 varied according to certain student characteristics in 2006. A greater rate of older students (ages 15–18) than younger students (ages 12–14) were victims of crime away from school (figures 2.1 and 2.2 and tables 2.2 and 2.3). No measurable difference was found by age when it came to victimization at school.

Students living in households with incomes of $75,000 or more had a lower rate of total crime victimization at school than students living in households with incomes of $49,999 or less. They also had a lower rate of total crime victimization away from school than students living in households with incomes of $74,999 or less. Though there was generally no measurable difference between students living in households with different income levels when it came to rates of theft at or away from school, significant differences were seen when looking at violent crime experienced at or away from school. Students living in households with incomes of $75,000 or more had a lower rate of violent crime victimization at school and away from school than students living in households with incomes of $49,999 or less.

This indicator has been updated to include 2006 data. For more information: Tables 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3; Eaton et al. (2007); and MacMillan and Hagan (2004).

6 Although Indicators 2 and 3 present information on similar topics, the survey sources for these two indicators differ with respect to time coverage and administration. For more information on these two surveys, please see appendix A PDF File (301 KB).
7 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.
8 Violent crimes include serious violent crimes and simple assault.
9 "At school" includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school.
10 Due to changes in survey methodology in 2006 that mainly affected rural areas, 2006 estimates are not comparable to estimates based on NCVS data from previous years. For more information, please see appendix A.
11 "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.
12 Serious violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.

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