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Victimization and School Conditions

In assessing the prevalence of school crime, it is also important to consider how certain
conditions at school may be associated with student criminal victimization. The 2009 SCS
asked respondents about gangs, guns, fights, drugs,9 alcohol, and hate-related graffiti at school. Specifically, students were asked whether there were gangs at school, whether they had seen another student with a gun at school, whether they had engaged in a physical fight at school, whether drugs or alcohol were available at school, and whether they had seen any hate-related graffiti at school.

The findings show that there were measurable differences between victims and nonvictims of crime at school among various unfavorable school conditions in school year 2008–09. Student victims of crime reported higher percentages of unfavorable school conditions than did student nonvictims in almost all cases.

Specifically, a higher percentage of student victims of any crime reported the presence of gangs at school than did student nonvictims (39.8 percent vs. 19.6 percent) (figure 1 and table 3). Furthermore, higher percentages of student victims of theft (40.2 percent) and violence (43.2 percent) reported the presence of gangs at school than did student nonvictims (19.6 percent). Higher percentages of student victims of any crime (16.9 percent) and violent crime (33.9 percent) reported having engaged in a physical fight at school than did student nonvictims (5.3 percent).The availability of drugs at school was reported by 51.5 percent of student victims of any crime, 53.2 percent of victims of theft, and 54.2 percent of victims of violent crime, compared to 29.9 percent of student nonvictims. Reported alcohol availability at school was higher among student victims of any crime (28.9 percent), theft (29.9 percent), and violent crime (34.6 percent) than among student nonvictims (15.8 percent). Higher percentages of student victims of any crime (49.3 percent), theft (47.4 percent), and violent crime (58.1 percent) also reported having seen hate-related graffiti at school than did student nonvictims (28.4 percent).


9 Students were asked whether marijuana, crack, other forms of cocaine, uppers, downers, LSD, PCP, heroin, prescription drugs, or other drugs were available at school.


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