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Victimization and Security Measures at School

School authorities are faced with the important task of deciding which security measures to implement, including hiring law enforcement officers, using metal detectors or security cameras, locking entrances and exits during the school day, and using staff supervision in hallways. An analysis of the 2008 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), a principal-based survey of U.S. public schools, grades K–12, found that 55 percent of schools used security cameras to monitor the school, 90 percent of schools controlled access to buildings during school hours, and 5 percent of schools used random metal detector checks on students (Robers et al. 2010).

The 2009 SCS asked students whether their schools used certain security measures. Among all students, 70.0 percent reported the use of security cameras, 64.3 percent reported the use of locked entrance or exit doors during the day, 53.8 percent reported the use of locker checks, and 10.6 percent reported the use of metal detectors in school year 2008–09 (table 5). Higher percentages of student victims of any crime and theft reported security cameras at their school than did student nonvictims (78.5 percent and 80.9 percent vs. 69.7 percent, respectively) (figure 3 and table 5). Among the remaining security measures, an analysis of the data found there were no measurable differences between the percentages of victims of any crime, theft, or violent crime and student nonvictims.

Students were also asked about the use of designated personnel and enforcement of administrative procedures to ensure student safety at their school. The data show that 68.1 percent of students reported security guards or assigned police officers, 90.6 percent reported staff supervision in the hallways, 23.4 percent reported a requirement that students wear picture identification, 95.6 percent reported a student code of conduct, and 94.3 percent reported a requirement that visitors sign in (table 6). No measurable differences were found among these types of security measures with the following exceptions: a higher percentage of student victims of any crime (78.0 percent) and theft (81.9 percent) reported the use of security guards or assigned police officers than did student nonvictims (67.7 percent) (figure 4 and table 6).

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