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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009
NCES 2010-012
December 2009

Appendix B: Glossary of Terms

General Terms

Specific Terms Used in Various Surveys


General Terms

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Crime Any violation of a statute or regulation or any act that the government has determined is injurious to the public, including felonies and misdemeanors. Such violation may or may not involve violence, and it may affect individuals or property.

Incident A specific criminal act or offense involving one or more victims and one or more offenders.

Multistage sampling A survey sampling technique in which there is more than one wave of sampling. That is, one sample of units is drawn, and then another sample is drawn within that sample. For example, at the first stage, a number of Census blocks may be sampled out of all the Census blocks in the United States. At the second stage, households are sampled within the previously sampled Census blocks.

Prevalence The percentage of the population directly affected by crime in a given period. This rate is based upon specific information elicited directly from the respondent regarding crimes committed against his or her person, against his or her property, or against an individual bearing a unique relationship to him or her. It is not based upon perceptions and beliefs about, or reactions to, criminal acts.

School An education institution consisting of one or more of grades K through 12.

School crime Any criminal activity that is committed on school property.

School year The 12-month period of time denoting the beginning and ending dates for school accounting purposes, usually from July 1 through June 30.

Stratification A survey sampling technique in which the target population is divided into mutually exclusive groups or strata based on some variable or variables (e.g., metropolitan area) and sampling of units occurs separately within each stratum.

Unequal probabilities A survey sampling technique in which sampled units do not have the same probability of selection into the sample. For example, the investigator may oversample rural students in order to increase the sample sizes of rural students. Rural students would then be more likely than other students to be sampled.


Specific Terms Used in Various Surveys

School-Associated Violent Deaths Surveillance Study

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Homicide An act involving a killing of one person by another resulting from interpersonal violence.

School-associated violent death A homicide or suicide in which the fatal injury occurred on the campus of a functioning elementary or secondary school in the United States, while the victim was on the way to or from regular sessions at such a school, or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event. Victims included nonstudents as well as students and staff members.

Suicide An act of taking oneís own life voluntarily and intentionally.

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National Crime Victimization Survey

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Aggravated assault Attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether or not an injury occurs, and attack without a weapon when serious injury results.

At school (students) Inside the school building, on school property (school parking area, play area, school bus, etc.), or on the way to or from school.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) Geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for use by federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing federal statistics.

Rape Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender(s). Includes attempts and verbal threats of rape. This category also includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object, such as a bottle.

Robbery Completed or attempted theft, directly from a person, of property or cash by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.

Rural A place not located inside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). This category includes a variety of localities, ranging from sparsely populated rural areas to cities with populations of less than 50,000.

Serious violent crime Rape, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault.

Sexual assault A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between the victim and offender. Sexual assault may or may not involve force and includes such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats.

Simple assault Attack without a weapon resulting either in no injury, minor injury, or an undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization. Also includes attempted assault without a weapon.

Suburban A county or counties containing a central city, plus any contiguous counties that are linked socially and economically to the central city. On the data tables, suburban areas are categorized as those portions of metropolitan areas situated "outside central cities."

Theft Completed or attempted theft of property or cash without personal contact.

Urban The largest city (or grouping of cities) in an MSA.

Victimization A crime as it affects one individual person or household. For personal crimes, the number of victimizations is equal to the number of victims involved. The number of victimizations may be greater than the number of incidents because more than one person may be victimized during an incident.

Victimization rate measure of the occurrence of victimizations among a specific population group.

Violent crime Rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, or simple assault.

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School Crime Supplement

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At school In the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to or from school.

Gang Street gangs, fighting gangs, crews, or something else. Gangs may use common names, signs, symbols, or colors. All gangs, whether or not they are involved in violent or illegal activity, are included.

Serious violent crime Rape, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault.

Total victimization Combination of violent victimization and theft. If a student reported an incident of either type, he or she is counted as having experienced any victimization. If the student reported having experienced both, he or she is counted once under "total victimization."

Violent crime Rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, or simple assault.

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Youth Risk Behavior Survey

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Illegal drugs Examples of illegal drugs were marijuana, cocaine, inhalants, steroids, or prescription drugs without a doctorís permission, heroin, and methamphetamines.

On school property On school property is included in the question wording, but was not defined for respondents.

Rural school

A school located outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Suburban school

A school located inside an MSA, but outside the "central city."

Urban scool

A school located inside an MSA and inside the "central city."

Weapon

Examples of weapons appearing in the questionnaire include guns, knives, and clubs.

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Schools and Staffing Survey

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City

A territory inside an urbanized area (defined as densely settled "cores" with populations of 50,000 or more of Census-defined blocks with adjacent densely settled surrounding areas) and inside a principal city (defined as a city that contains the primary population and economic center of a metropolitan statistical area, which, in turn, is defined as one or more contiguous counties that have a "core" area with a large population nucleus and adjacent communities that are highly integrated economically or socially with the core).

Elementary school

A school in which the lowest grade is less than or equal to grade 6 and the highest grade is less than or equal to grade 8.

Elementary school teachers

An elementary school teacher is one who, when asked for the grades taught, checked: (1) only "ungraded" and was designated as an elementary teacher on the list of teachers provided by the school; (2) 6th grade or lower or "ungraded," and no grade higher than 6th; (3) 6th grade or lower and 7th grade or higher, and reported a primary assignment of prekindergarten, kindergarten, or general elementary; (4) 7th and 8th grades only, and reported a primary assignment of prekindergarten, kindergarten, or general elementary; (5) 6th grade or lower and 7th grade or higher, and reported a primary assignment of special education and was designated as an elementary teacher on the list of teachers provided by the school; or (6) 7th and 8th grades only, and reported a primary assignment of special education and was designated as an elementary teacher on the list of teachers provided by the school. A teacher at a school that has grade 6 or lower or one that is "ungraded" with no grade higher than the 8th.

Instructional level Instructional levels divide teachers into elementary or secondary based on a combination of the grades taught, main teaching assignment, and the structure of the teacherís class(es). Those with only ungraded classes are categorized as elementary level teachers if their main assignment is early childhood/prekindergarten or elementary, or they teach either special education in a self-contained classroom or an elementary enrichment class. All other teachers with ungraded classes are classified as secondary level. Among teachers with regularly graded classes, in general, elementary level teachers teach any of grades prekindergarten through 5th; report an early childhood/prekindergarten, elementary, self-contained special education, or elementary enrichment main assignment; or are those whose preponderance of grades taught are kindergarten through 6th. In general, secondary-level teachers instruct any of grades 7 through 12 but usually no grade lower than 5th. They also teach more of grades 7 through 12 than lower level grades.

Rural A territory outside any urbanized area (defined as densely settled "cores" with populations of 50,000 or more of Census-defined blocks with adjacent densely settled surrounding areas) or urban cluster (defined as densely settled "cores" with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 of Census-defined blocks with adjacent densely settled surrounding areas).

Secondary school A school in which the lowest grade is greater than or equal to grade 7 and the highest grade is less than or equal to grade 12.

Secondary school teachers A secondary school teacher is one who, when asked for the grades taught, checked: (1) "ungraded" and was designated as a secondary teacher on the list of teachers provided by the school; (2) 6th grade or lower and 7th grade or higher, and reported a primary assignment other than prekindergarten, kindergarten, or general elementary; (3) 9th grade or higher, or 9th grade or higher and "ungraded"; (4) 7th and 8th grades only, and reported a primary assignment other than prekindergarten, kindergarten, general elementary, or special education; (5) 7th and 8th grades only, and reported a primary assignment of special education and was designated as a secondary teacher on the list of teachers provided by the school; or (6) 6th grade or lower and 7th grade or higher, or 7th and 8th grades only, and was not categorized above as either elementary or secondary.

Suburban A territory outside a principal city (defined as a city that contains the primary population and economic center of a metropolitan statistical area, which, in turn, is defined as one or more contiguous counties that have a "core" area with a large population nucleus and adjacent communities that are highly integrated economically or socially with the core) and inside an urbanized area (defined as densely settled "cores" with populations of 50,000 or more of Census-defined blocks with adjacent densely settled surrounding areas).

Town A territory inside an urban cluster (defined as densely settled "cores" with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 of Census-defined blocks with adjacent densely settled surrounding areas).

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School Survey on Crime and Safety

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At school/at your school Includes activities that happened in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that held school-sponsored events or activities. Unless otherwise specified, respondents were instructed to report on activities that occurred during normal school hours or when school activities/events were in session.

City As collected by the Common Core of Data and appended to the SSOCS data file, city includes territories inside an urbanized area and inside a principal city and includes large cities (populations of 250,000 or more), midsize cities (population less than 250,000 and greater than or equal to 100,000) and small cities (population less than 100,000).

Combined schools Schools that include all combinations of grades, including KĖ12 schools, other than primary, middle, and high schools (see definitions for these school levels later in this section).

Cult or extremist group A group that espouses radical beliefs and practices, which may include a religious component, that are widely seen as threatening the basic values and cultural norms of society at large.

Firearm/explosive device Any weapon that is designed to (or may readily be converted to) expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. This includes guns, bombs, grenades, mines, rockets, missiles, pipe bombs, or similar devices designed to explode and capable of causing bodily harm or property damage.

Gang An ongoing loosely organized association of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, that has a common name, signs, symbols, or colors, whose members engage, either individually or collectively, in violent or other forms of illegal behavior.

High school A school in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 12.

Hate crime A criminal offense or threat against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offenderís bias against a race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

Insubordination A deliberate and inexcusable defiance of or refusal to obey a school rule, authority, or a reasonable order. It includes but is not limited to direct defiance of school authority, failure to attend assigned detention or on-campus supervision, failure to respond to a call slip, and physical or verbal intimidation/abuse.

Intimidatiom To frighten, compel, or deter by actual or implied threats. It includes bullying and sexual harassment. (Intimidation was not defined in the front of the questionnaire in 2005Ė06.)

Middle school A school in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 4 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 9.

Physical attack or fight An actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against his or her will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual.

Primary school A school in which the lowest grade is not higher than grade 3 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 8.

Rape Forced sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral penetration). Includes penetration from a foreign object.

Robbery The taking or attempting to take anything of value that is owned by another person or organization, under confrontational circumstances by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear. A key difference between robbery and theft/larceny is that a threat or battery is involved in robbery.

Rural As collected by the Common Core of Data and appended to the SSOCS data file, rural includes fringe rural areas (Census-defined rural territory that is less than or equal to 5 miles from an urbanized area, as well as rural territory that is less than or equal to 2.5 miles from an urban cluster), distant rural areas (Census-defined rural territory that is more than 5 miles but less than or equal to 25 miles from an urbanized area, as well as rural territory that is more than 2.5 miles but less than 10 miles from an urban cluster), and remote rural areas (Census-defined rural territory that is more than 25 miles from an urbanized area, as well as rural territory that is more than 10 miles from an urban cluster).

Serious violent incidents Include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attacks or fights with a weapon, threats of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.

Sexual battery An incident that includes threatened rape, fondling, indecent liberties, child molestation, or sodomy. Principals were instructed that classification of these incidents should take into consideration the age and developmentally appropriate behavior of the offenders.

Sexual harassment Unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over another person. The behavior may be verbal or nonverbal.

Specialized school A school that is specifically for students who were referred for disciplinary reasons. The school may also have students who were referred for other reasons. The school may be at the same location as the respondentís school.

Suburb As collected by the Common Core of Data and appended to the SSOCS data file, suburb includes territories outside a principal city and inside an urbanized area and includes large suburbs (populations of 250,000 or more), midsize suburbs (population less than 250,000 and greater than or equal to 100,000) and small suburbs (population less than 100,000).

Theft/larceny Taking things valued at over $10 without personal confrontation. Specifically, the unlawful taking of another personís property without personal confrontation, threat, violence, or bodily harm. Included are pocket picking, stealing purse or backpack (if left unattended or no force was used to take it from owner), theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of bicycles, theft from vending machines, and all other types of thefts.

Town As collected by the Common Core of Data and appended to the SSOCS data file, town includes fringe towns (territories inside an urban cluster that is less than or equal to 10 miles from an urbanized area), distant towns (territories inside an urban cluster that is more than 10 miles and less than or equal to 35 miles from an urbanized area), and remote towns (territories which are inside an urban cluster that is more than 35 miles from an urbanized area).

Vandalism The willful damage or destruction of school property, including bombing, arson, graffiti, and other acts that cause property damage. Includes damage caused by computer hacking.

Violent incidents Include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attacks or fights with or without a weapon, threats of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.

Weapon Any instrument or object used with the intent to threaten, injure, or kill. Includes look-alikes if they are used to threaten others.

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