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

Indicator 8: Students' Reports of Gangs at School

In 2009, about 20 percent of students reported that gangs were present at their school. A higher percentage of students from urban schools (31 percent) reported a gang presence than students from suburban (17 percent) and rural schools (16 percent).

The presence of gang activity in the vicinity of schools poses a risk to staff and student safety and school security. Intimidation of staff and students by gang members has a large impact on the educational environment and perception of school safety (Smith 2011). The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey asked students ages 12–18 if gangs were present at their school during the school year.43

In 2009, about 20 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that gangs were present at their school during the school year. This was a decrease from the 23 percent of students who reported a gang presence in 2007. A higher percentage of students from urban schools (31 percent) reported a gang presence at their school in 2009 than students from suburban and rural schools (17 percent and 16 percent, respectively). While the percentage of students from suburban schools who reported a gang presence at their school was lower in 2009 than in 2007 (17 vs. 21 percent), the percentages of students from urban and rural schools who reported a gang presence were not measurably different between the same years (figure 8.1 and table 8.1). In 2009, approximately 22 percent of students attending public schools reported that gangs were present at their school compared with 2 percent of students attending private schools.

There were no measurable differences in the percentages of male and female students who reported a gang presence at their school in 2009—approximately 21 percent of males and 20 percent of females reported a gang presence during the school year. The percentage of female students who reported such was not measurably different between 2009 and 2007; however, the percentage of male students who reported a gang presence was lower in 2009 than in 2007 (21 vs. 25 percent).

The percentages of students reporting a gang presence at school varied by their race/ethnicity in 2009. Higher percentages of Hispanic students (33 percent) and Black students (31 percent) than White students (14 percent) and Asian students (17 percent) reported the presence of gangs.

Students' reports of a gang presence at their school also varied by grade in 2009 (figure 8.2 and table 8.1). The percentages of students in 6th through 8th grade, for example, who reported a gang presence at their school were lower than the percentages for students in 9th through 12th grade. Eleven percent of 6th-graders reported the presence of gangs, compared with 25 percent of 9th-graders and 28 percent of 10th-graders. The percentage of students in 10th-grade who reported a gang presence at their school was higher than the percentages of students in 11th grade (23 percent) and 12th grade (22 percent) who reported a gang presence.

This indicator has been updated with 2009 data. For more information: Table 8.1 and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


43 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.


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