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

Indicator 3: Prevalence of Victimization at School

In 2009, approximately 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months. Three percent of students reported theft, 1 percent reported violent victimization, and less than 1 percent reported serious violent victimization.

The School Crime Supplement29 collects data on the percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported criminal victimization at school30 during the previous 6 months. In addition to the total percentages reported by students, victimization is also reported by type, namely theft, 31 violent victimization, 32 and serious violent victimization. 33 Results from the most recent data collection show that in 2009, approximately 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months. Three percent of students reported theft, 1 percent reported violent victimization, and less than 1 percent reported serious violent victimization ( figure 3.1 and table 3.1).

Reports on the prevalence of victimization varied in 2009 by student characteristics. Among students ages 12–18, a higher percentage of male students (5 percent) than female students (3 percent) reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months. While a higher percentage of male students reported theft (3 percent compared to 2 percent of female students), no measurable differences were detected by sex in the percentages reported by students for violent type of victimization in 2009.

There were no measurable differences between the percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic students ages 12–18 who reported criminal victimization, theft, and violent victimization at school in 2009. About 4 percent each of White, Black, and Hispanic students reported criminal victimization at school and 3 percent each reported theft. Two percent of Black students and 1 percent each of White and Hispanic students ages 12–18 reported violent victimization.

A higher percentage of 11th-graders (5 percent) than 12th-graders (2 percent) reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months in 2009. Three percent of 7th-graders, 4 percent each of 6th-graders, 8th-graders, and 10th-graders, and 5 percent of 9th-graders reported being victimized at school. A lower percentage of 8th-graders than 9th-graders (2 percent vs. 5 percent) reported theft, and a lower percentage of 12th-graders than 11th-graders (2 percent vs. 3 percent) reported theft in 2009.

No measurable differences were observed by urbanicity in 2009 in the prevalence of victimization. About 4 percent each of students ages 12–18 from urban and suburban schools and 3 percent of students from rural schools reported criminal victimization at school. Differences were observed by school type in the prevalence of victimization reported in 2009. Students attending public schools reported being victimized at about twice the rate of students attending private schools (4 percent vs. 2 percent).

Between 1995 and 2009, the total percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being victimized at school during the previous 6 months, as well as the percentages of students who reported theft, violent victimization, and serious violent victimization, decreased. A decrease between 1995 and 2009 in the percentage of students reporting criminal victimization also occurred by some student and school characteristics. For example, the percentage of male students who reported being victimized at school decreased by about half, from 10 percent in 1995 to 5 percent in 2009. Among female students, the percentage who reported being victimized decreased by about two thirds, from 9 percent in 1995 to 3 percent in 2009. For students attending both public and private schools, the percentages of students who reported victimization decreased. Ten percent of public school students reported being victimized at school in 1995, compared with 4 percent of public school students in 2009. Similarly, about 7 percent of private school students reported being victimized in 1995, compared with 2 percent in 2009.

This indicator has been updated to include 2009 data. For more information: Tables 3.1 and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


29 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.
30 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to and from school.
31 "Theft" includes purse-snatching, pickpocketing, 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.
32 "Violent victimization" includes serious violent crimes and simple assault.
33 "Serious violent victimization" includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.


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