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

Indicator 21: Students' Reports of Safety and Security Measures Observed at School

Sixty-four percent of students ages 12–18 reported observing locked entrance or exit doors during the day at their schools in 2009, compared with 61 percent of students in 2007.

Schools use a variety of measures to promote the safety of students, ranging from codes of student conduct to metal detectors. In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked whether their schools used certain security measures.61 Security measures include metal detectors, locker checks, security cameras, security guards or police officers, adult supervision in hallways, badges or picture identification for students, a code of student conduct, locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and a requirement that visitors sign in. In 2009, nearly all students (99 percent) ages 12–18 reported that they observed the use of at least one of the selected security measures at their schools (figure 21.1 and table 21.1).

The majority of students ages 12–18 reported in 2009 that their schools had a code of student conduct (96 percent) and a requirement that visitors sign in (94 percent). Approximately 68 percent of students reported the presence of security guards and/or assigned police officers, and 91 percent reported the presence of other school staff or other adult supervision in the hallway. Some 70 percent of students reported the use of security cameras at their schools, 64 percent reported locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and 54 percent reported locker checks. In addition, 23 percent of students reported that badges or picture identifications were required at their schools. Metal detectors were the least observed of the selected safety and security measures: 11 percent of students reported the use of metal detectors at their schools.

The percentages of students who reported the presence of some of the selected security measures at school has increased over time as well as between the two most recent survey years. Specifically, the percentage of students who reported observing the use of one or more security cameras at their schools was 70 percent in 2009, which represented an increase from 39 percent in 2001 as well as an increase from 66 percent in 2007. Similarly, the percentage of students who reported observing locked entrance or exit doors during the day was 64 percent in 2009, which represented an increase from 38 percent in 1999 as well as an increase from 61 percent in 2007. Higher percentages of students in 2009 than in 1999 reported the presence of security guards and/or assigned police officers (68 vs. 54 percent) and the presence of other school staff or other adult supervision in the hallway (91 vs. 85 percent).

Between 1999 and 2009, the percentage of students who reported a visitor sign-in requirement increased from 87 to 94 percent, although no measurable differences in the percentage were detected between the two most recent survey years, 2007 and 2009 (94 percent each). Across all survey years, no measurable differences were detected in the percentages of students who reported locker checks, requirements that students wear badges or picture identification, or a code of student conduct in their schools during the school year.

This indicator has been updated to include 2009–10 data. For more information: Table 21.1 and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


61 Readers should note that this indicator relies on student reports of security measures and provides estimates based on students' awareness of the measure rather than on documented practice. See Indicator 20 for a summary of the use of various security measures as reported by schools.


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