In 2003, students ages 12-18 in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school, followed by their counterparts in suburban and rural schools.
Street gangs are organized groups that are often involved in drugs, weapons trafficking, and violence. The presence of street gangs at school can be very disruptive to the school environment because they may not only create fear among students but also increase the level of violence in school (Laub and Lauritsen 1998). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked if street gangs were present at their schools during the previous 6 months.
In 2003, 21 percent of students reported that there were gangs at their schools (table 15.1). Of all the students surveyed, students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school (31 percent), followed by suburban students and rural students, who were the least likely to do so (18 and 12 percent, respectively). However, no difference was detected between 2001 and 2003 in percentages of students who reported the presence of street gangs, regardless of school location.
Hispanic and Black students were more likely than White students to report the existence of street gangs in their schools in 2003 (37 and 29 percent, respectively, vs. 14 percent) (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). This pattern also held among students in urban schools and suburban schools. For rural students, the only significant difference was between Black students (22 percent) and White students (11 percent).
Students in public schools were more likely to report the presence of street gangs than students in private schools regardless of the school's location (figure 15.2 and table 15.1). In 2003, 23 percent of students in public schools reported that there were street gangs in their schools, compared with 4 percent of students in private schools. Among public school students, students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school, followed by suburban students and rural students. For private school students, no significant difference was detected according to urbanicity.
This indicator has been updated to include 2003 data.