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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010
NCES 2011-002
November 2010

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

For students ages 12 to 18, the rates for serious violent crimes in 2008 were lower at school than away from school. The 2008 victimization rates for serious violent crimes were 4 per 1,000 students at school, and 8 per 1,000 students away from school.

Theft and violence both at school and while going to and from school can affect the overall health and wellbeing of adolescents, interfere with educational goals, and stall normal healthy development (Fredland 2008). This type of victimization can also lead to higher than average rates of teacher turnover and increases in student dropout rates, students changing schools, and principals and teachers retiring early (Crews, Crews, and Turner 2008).

In 2008, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey4 showed that more crimes were committed against students ages 12 to 18 at school than away from school. Students ages 12 to 18 experienced about 1.2 million nonfatal crimes (theft5 plus violent crime6) at school,7 compared to about 1 million nonfatal crimes away from school (table 2.1).8 These figures represent total crime victimization rates of 47 crimes per 1,000 students at school and 38 crimes per 1,000 students away from school.

Victimization rates of students ages 12 to 18 generally declined between 1992 and 2008. This pattern held for the total crime rate both at school and away from school as well as for the rates of the three components making up the total crime rate: thefts, violent crimes, and serious violent crimes. Between 2007 and 2008, the total crime rates against students ages 12 to 18 at school declined from 57 victimizations per 1,000 students to 47 per 1,000 students. The rate of victimization by theft at school declined from 31 per 1,000 students ages 12 to 18 in 2007 to 24 per 1,000 in 2008. There was no measurable difference in the rate of victimization by violent crime against students ages 12 to 18 at school between 2007 and 2008. Additionally, total crime, theft, and violent crime victimization rates away from school were not measurably different between 2007 and 2008.

Generally, between 1992 and 2007, the rate of theft at school among students ages 12 to 18 was higher than the rate of theft away from school. There were no measurable differences in these rates in 2008.

For most years between 1992 and 2005,9 the rate of violent crimes per 1,000 students away from school was either higher than the at-school rate or not measurably different from the at-school rate. However, in 2007 the rate of violent crimes per 1,000 students ages 12 to 18 at school was higher than the rate for those away from school. In 2008, there was no measurable difference.10

Rates of serious violent crimes11 against students ages 12 to 18 at school were lower than those occurring away from school in each survey year between 1992 and 2008,6 except in 2007, when there was no difference detected. In 2008, students ages 12 to 18 were victims of 4 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students at school and 8 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students away from school.

In 2008, the victimization rates for students ages 12 to 18 varied according to student characteristics. There were no measurable differences by age group (i.e., students ages 12 to 14 vs. students ages 15 to 18) in the rates of total crime, theft, and violent victimizations at school (figure 2.2 and table 2.2).

However, the rates of total crime, theft, violent, and serious violent victimizations away from school were lower for younger students (ages 12 to 14) than for older students (ages 15 to 18) (figure 2.2 and table 2.3). For example, the total crime victimization rate away from school was 25 per 1,000 students ages 12 to 14 and 49 per 1,000 students ages 15 to 18. For students ages 12 to 14, violent victimization rates away from school were 12 per 1,000, compared to 25 per 1,000 for students ages 15 to 18. The serious violent victimization rate away from school was 4 per 1,000 students ages 12 to 14 and 11 per 1,000 students ages 15 to 18. No measurable differences were detected by gender between the rates of thefts per 1,000 students either at or away from school. Females had lower rates of violent crime victimization than males both at school and away from school in 2008.

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4 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.
5 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.
6 Violent crimes include serious violent crimes and simple assault.
7 "At school" includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school.
8 "Students" refers to youth ages 1218 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.
9 There was a redesign of the methods used to measure victimization in the 2006 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Due to this redesign, 2006 data are not presented in this indicator. For more information, please See appendix A.
10 The difference was not statistically significant at the .05 level, the level used to identify differences throughout the report.
11 Serious violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.

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