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

Indicator 6: Violent and Other Crime Incidents at Public Schools, and Those Reported to the Police

In 2009–10, about 74 percent of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents, 16 percent recorded one or more serious violent incidents, and 44 percent recorded one or more thefts.

In the School Survey on Crime and Safety, public school principals were asked to provide the number of violent incidents,17 serious violent incidents,18 thefts of items valued at $10 or greater without personal confrontation, and other incidents19 that occurred at their school.20 Public school principals were also asked to provide the number of incidents they reported to the police. This indicator presents the percentage of public schools that recorded one or more of these specified crimes, the total number of these crimes recorded, and the rate of crimes per 1,000 students. These data are also presented for crimes that were reported to the police.

In all survey years the percentage of public schools that recorded incidents of crime was between 85 and 86 percent, with the exception of school year 2003–04. In 2003–04, the percentage of public schools that recorded incidents of crime was 89 percent. Similarly, the percentage of public schools that reported incidents of crime to the police was between 60 and 62 percent in all survey years with the exception of 2003–04, when 65 percent of public schools reported one or more incidents to the police.

For the majority of types of crime, the percentages of public schools recording incidents of crime or reporting incidents of crime to the police in 2009–10 were not measurably different from the percentages of schools doing so in 2007–08. However, the percentage of schools that recorded vandalism decreased from 49 percent in 2007–08 to 46 percent in 2009–10.

During the 2009–10 school year, 85 percent of public schools recorded that one or more of these incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to an estimated 1.9 million crimes (figure 6.1 and table 6.1). This figure translates to a rate of approximately 40 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 2009–10. During the same year, 60 percent of schools reported one of the specified crimes to the police, amounting to about 689,000 crimes—or 15 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled.

In 2009–10, a greater percentage of schools recorded an incident of crime than reported an incident of crime to the police. This pattern held true for violent crimes, serious violent crimes, thefts, and other crimes. Seventy-four percent of schools recorded one or more violent incidents of crime (a rate of 25 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled), 16 percent recorded one or more serious violent incidents (a rate of 1 crime per 1,000 students enrolled), 44 percent recorded one or more thefts (a rate of 5 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled), and 68 percent recorded one or more other incidents (a rate of 9 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled). In comparison, 40 percent of public schools reported at least one violent incident to police (a rate of 6 reported crimes per 1,000 students), 10 percent reported at least one serious violent incident to police (a rate of less than 1 percent reported crimes per 1,000 students), 25 percent reported at least one theft to police (a rate of 3 reported crimes per 1,000 students), and 46 percent reported one or more other incidents to police (a rate of 6 reported crimes per 1,000 students).

The percentage of schools that recorded incidents of violent crime, serious violent crime, theft, and other incidents varied by school characteristics. For example, by school level, primary schools recorded lower percentages of these types of crimes than middle schools and high schools: 64 percent of primary schools recorded violent incidents of crime compared with 91 percent each of middle schools and high schools (figure 6.2 and table 6.2). A lower percentage of primary schools recorded serious violent incidents of crime (13 percent) than middle or high schools (19 and 28 percent, respectively), a lower percentage of primary schools recorded incidents of theft (26 percent) than middle or high schools (65 and 83 percent, respectively), and a lower percentage of primary schools recorded other incidents (57 percent) than middle or high schools (82 and 92 percent, respectively).

A similar pattern was observed for public schools that reported such incidents of violent crime, serious violent crime, theft, and other incidents to the police. The percentages of primary schools that reported incidents of these types of crime to the police were lower than for middle schools and high schools (figure 6.2 and table 6.3).

Data on the number of crimes recorded and reported by schools in 2009–10 were categorized by frequency range as well. For example, 26 percent of schools recorded zero violent crimes, and 19 percent of schools recorded 20 or more violent crimes (figure 6.3 and table 6.4). Sixty percent of schools did not report a violent crime to the police, while 5 percent of schools reported 20 or more violent crimes to the police. With regard to serious violent crimes, 84 percent of schools did not record a serious violent crime, and 2 percent of schools recorded 10 or more such crimes. Ninety percent of schools did not report a serious violent crime to the police, and 1 percent of schools reported 10 or more serious violent crimes to the police (table 6.5). The number of crimes recorded by schools by frequency range varied by school characteristics. A larger percentage of city schools recorded 20 or more violent incidents in 2009–10 than suburban schools or rural schools (table 6.4). In 2009–10, this amounts to about 25 percent of city schools recording 20 or more violent incidents, compared with 19 percent of suburban schools and 14 percent of rural schools.

This indicator repeats information from the 2011 Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. For more information: Tables 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5, and Neiman (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011320).


17 "Violent incidents" include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
18 "Serious violent incidents" include rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
19 "Other incidents" include possession of a firearm or explosive device; possession of a knife or sharp object; distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol; vandalism; and inappropriate distribution, possession, or use of prescription drugs.
20 "At school" was defined for respondents to include activities that happen in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that hold school-sponsored events or activities. Respondents were instructed to include incidents that occurred before, during, or after normal school hours, or when school activities or events were in session.


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