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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012
NCES 2013-036
2013

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

For students ages 1218, the rates of violent victimization in 2011 were higher at school than away from school. The 2011 victimization rates for violent crimes were 24 per 1,000 students at school, and 17 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 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 2011, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey4 showed that more victimizations were committed against students ages 1218 at school than away from school. This pattern has been consistent since 2001. In 2011, students ages 1218 experienced 1,246,000 nonfatal victimizations (theft5 and violent crime6) at school,7 compared to 965,200 nonfatal victimizations away from school (table 2.1).8 These figures represent total crime victimization rates of 49 crimes per 1,000 students at school and 38 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school. This difference was driven primarily by higher rates of simple assault at school than away from school (20.1 vs. 11.3 per 1,000).9

For most years between 1992 and 2008, the rate of theft at school among students ages 1218 was higher than the rate of theft away from school, but there were no measurable differences between these rates in 2009, 2010, or 2011. In 2011, the rate of theft was 26 per 1,000 students at school and 21 per 1,000 students away from school. Between 1992 and 2000, the rate of violent victimization per 1,000 students away from school was either higher than the rate at school or not measurably different than the rate at school. Since 2001, the rates of violent victimization per 1,000 students away from school have generally been lower than the rates at school or not measurably different than the rates at school. In 2011, the rate of violent victimization at school (24 per 1,000 students) was higher than the rate for students away from school (17 per 1,000).

Rates of serious violent victimization10 against students ages 1218 at school were generally lower than those occurring away from school in most survey years between 1992 and 2008; between 2009 and 2011 there were no measurable differences in these rates. In 2011, students experienced about 4 to 5 serious violent victimizations per 1,000 students at and away from school.

Between 1992 and 2011, the total victimization rates for students ages 1218 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 2010 and 2011, the total victimization rate against students ages 1218 at school increased from 35 victimizations per 1,000 students to 49 per 1,000, and the rate of theft at school increased from 18 per 1,000 students to 26 per 1,000. During this same time period, the rate of violent victimization at school increased from 17 per 1,000 students to 24 per 1,000, driven primarily by the increase in simple assaults (from 10.5 to 20.1 per 1,000). There were no measurable differences in the rate of serious violent victimization against students at school between 2010 and 2011. Away from school, total victimization rates increased from 27 per 1,000 students in 2010 to 38 per 1,000 in 2011. Theft increased from 15 per 1,000 students in 2010 to 21 per 1,000 in 2011. Violent and serious violent victimization rates away from school were not measurably different between 2010 and 2011.

The victimization rates for students in 2011 varied according to student characteristics. No measurable differences were found by age group (i.e., students ages 1214 vs. students ages 1518) in the rates of total victimization at school (figure 2.2 and table 2.2). The rates of theft at school were lower for younger students (ages 1214) than for older students (ages 1518). The rates of theft at school were 21 per 1,000 students ages 1214, compared to 30 per 1,000 students ages 1518. The rates of violent victimization at school were higher for younger students (ages 1214) than for older students (ages 1518). Violent victimization rates at school were 34 per 1,000 students ages 1214, compared to 14 per 1,000 students ages 1518.

Away from school, the rates of total victimization, theft, and violent victimization were higher for older students (ages 1518) than for younger students (ages 1214) (figure 2.2 and table 2.3). Total victimization rates away from school were 23 per 1,000 students ages 1214, compared to 52 per 1,000 students ages 1518. Theft victimization rates away from school were 16 per 1,000 students ages 1214, compared to 26 per 1,000 students ages 1518. Violent victimization rates away from school were 7 per 1,000 students ages 1214, compared to 26 per 1,000 students ages 1518.

At school, females had lower rates of violent victimization (19 per 1,000) than males (28 per 1,000) in 2011. There were no measurable differences between male and female rates of theft at school. Females had higher rates of theft (25 per 1,000) than males (18 per 1,000) away from school in 2011. No measurable differences were detected by sex between the rates of total and violent victimization away from school.

Students residing in urban areas had higher rates of violent victimization at school than those residing in suburban areas. Violent victimization rates were 32 per 1,000 students in urban areas, compared to 20 per 1,000 in suburban areas.

This indicator has been updated to include 2011 data. For more information: Tables 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3; Fredland (2008); and Crews, Crews, and Turner (2008).


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 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. Robbery is classified as a violent crime.
6 "Violent victimization" includes 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 "Simple assault" is the difference between total violence and serious violence. It includes threats and attacks without a weapon or serious injury.
10 "Serious violent victimization" includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.


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