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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011
NCES 2012-002
February 2012

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

Between 2009 and 2010, the violent victimization rate for students ages 12–18 at school declined from 20 per 1,000 students to 14 per 1,000 students.

Theft and violence both at school and while going to and from school can affect the overall health and well-being 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, increases in student dropout rates, students changing schools, principals and teachers retiring early, increases in student fear of violence at school, and a decline in learning (Crews, Crews, and Turner 2008).

In 2010, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey23 showed that more victimizations were committed against students ages 12–18 at school than away from school. Students ages 12–18 experienced about 828,400 nonfatal victimizations (theft24 and violent crime25 ) at school,26 compared to about 652,500 nonfatal victimizations away from school (table 2.1). 27 These figures represent total crime victimization rates of 32 crimes per 1,000 students at school and 26 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school.

For most years between 1992 and 2008, the rate of theft at school among students ages 12–18 was higher than the rate of theft away from school, but there were no measurable differences between these rates in either 2009 or 2010. Between 1992 and 2000, the rate of violent victimization per 1,000 students away from school was higher than the rate at school. In most years since 2001, the rates of violent victimization per 1,000 students away from school have not been measurably different than the rates at school. However, in 2009 the rate of violent victimization per 1,000 students at school was higher than the rate for students away from school. In 2010, there was no measurable difference in the violent victimization rates at and away from school (11 per 1,000 students away from school and 14 per 1,000 at school).

Rates of serious violent victimization28 against students ages 12–18 at school were generally lower than those occurring away from school in each survey year between 1992 and 2008; in both 2009 and 2010, there were no measurable differences in the rates. In 2010, students experienced 4 serious violent victimizations per 1,000 students at school and 5 serious violent victimizations per 1,000 students away from school.

Between 1992 and 2010, the total victimization rates for students ages 12–18 generally declined both at and away from school. This pattern also held for thefts, violent victimizations, and serious violent victimizations (figure 2.1).

In the most recent period between 2009 and 2010, the total victimization rate against students ages 12–18 at school declined from 43 victimizations per 1,000 students to 32 per 1,000, and the rate of violent victimization at school declined from 20 per 1,000 students to 14 per 1,000. There were no measurable differences in the rates of theft and serious violent victimization against students at school between 2009 and 2010. Away from school, total victimization rates declined from 33 per 1,000 students in 2009 to 26 per 1,000 in 2010. Theft declined from 19 per 1,000 students in 2009 to 15 per 1,000 in 2010. Violent and serious violent victimization rates away from school were not measurably different between 2009 and 2010.

The victimization rates for students in 2010 varied according to student characteristics. No measurable differences were found by age group (i.e., students ages 12–14 vs. students ages 15–18) in the rates of total victimization, theft, and serious violent victimization at school (figure 2.2 and table 2.2). However, the rates of violent victimization at school were higher for younger students (ages 12–14) than for older students (ages 15–18) (figure 2.2 and table 2.2). Violent victimization rates at school were 18 per 1,000 students ages 12–14, compared to 11 per 1,000 students ages 15–18.

Away from school, the rates of total victimization and theft were lower for younger students (ages 12–14) than for older students (ages 15–18) (figure 2.2 and table 2.3). Total victimization rates away from school were 20 per 1,000 students ages 12–14, compared to 31 per 1,000 students ages 15–18. Theft victimization rates away from school were 10 per 1,000 students ages 12–14, compared to 19 per 1,000 students ages 15–18. There were no measurable differences by age group in the rates of violent and serious violent victimization away from school.

No measurable differences were detected by sex between the rates of total victimization, theft, and serious violent victimizations either at or away from school. Females had lower rates of violent victimization (8 per 1,000) than males (14 per 1,000) away from school in 2010. There were no measurable differences between male and female rates of violent victimization at school in 2010.

Students residing in urban and suburban areas had higher rates of violent victimization at school than those residing in rural areas. Violent victimization rates were 18 per 1,000 students in urban areas and 14 per 1,000 in suburban areas, compared to 7 per 1,000 students residing in rural areas.

This indicator has been updated to include 2009 and 2010 data. For more information: Tables 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3; Fredland (2008); and Crews, Crews, and Turner (2008).


23 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.
24 "Theft" includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, excluding motor vehicle theft. Theft does not include robbery, in which the threat or use of force is involved.
25 "Violent victimization" includes serious violent crimes and simple assault.
26 "At school" includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school.
27 "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.
28 "Serious violent victimization" includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.


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