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Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2003
Executive Summary



Violent Deaths at School

Nonfatal Student Victimization-Student Reports

Violence and Crime at School-Public School Reports

Nonfatal Teacher Victimization at School-Teacher Reports

School Environment


Full Report (PDF) (PDF - 1152 KB)

-Supplemental Tables (PDF - 224 KB)

-Standard Error Tables (PDF - 186 KB)

-Appendix A   Technical Notes (PDF - 113 KB)

-Appendix B   Glossary of Terms (PDF - 45 KB)

-Excel Tables   Zip Format (207 KB)

Executive Summary

For youth to fulfill their potential in school, schools should be safe and secure places for all students, teachers, and staff members. Without a safe learning environment, teachers may have difficulty teaching and students may have difficulty learning. Gauging the Safety of the school environment, however, may be difficult given the large amount of attention devoted to isolated incidents of extreme school violence nationwide.

Ensuring safer schools requires establishing good indicators of the current state of school crime and Safety across the nation and periodically monitoring and updating these indicators. Indicators of School Crime and Safety is designed to provide an annual snapshot of specific crime and Safety indicators, covering topics such as victimization, fights, bullying, disorder, teacher injury, weapons, student perceptions of school Safety, and others. In addition to covering a wide range of topics, the indicators are based on information drawn from surveys of students, teachers, and principals, and data collections by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students ages 12-18 were victims of about 2 million nonfatal crimes of violence or theft at school in 2001, with the majority (62 percent) of all victimizations at school being thefts. However, this report is not only concerned with the Safety of students in schools. Where comparable data are available for crimes that occur outside of school grounds, these data are offered as a point of comparison. In fact, as the data in this report show, a larger number of serious violent victimizations (that is, rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) take place away from school than at school.1

Data on homicides and suicides at school show there were 32 school-associated violent deaths in the United States between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000, including 24 homicides, 16 of which involved school-aged children. In each school year from 1992 to 2000, youth ages 5-19 were at least 70 times more likely to be murdered away from school than at school. Trends in school crime over time are also of interest to researchers, educators, and families. Data show that the percentage of students being victimized at school has declined over recent years. Between 1995 and 2001, the percentage of students who reported being victims of crime at school decreased from 10 percent to 6 percent. This included a decrease in theft (from 7 percent to 4 percent) and a decrease in violent victimization (from 3 percent to 2 percent) over the same time period.

For some other types of crime at school, the frequency of these behaviors has shown no detectable pattern of increase or decrease over time. These include the percentage of suicides of school-age youth between 1992 and 1999, the percentage of students being threatened or injured with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property between 1993 and 2001, and the percentage of teachers being physically attacked by a student between 1993-94 and 1999-2000. Hate-related graffiti between 1999 and 2001, and measures of marijuana use, alcohol use, and drug distribution at school between 1993 and 2001 have also shown no detectable pattern of change over their respective survey periods. The prevalence of one problem behavior at school has increased. In 2001, 8 percent of students reported that they had been bullied at school in the last 6 months, up from 5 percent in 1999.

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