This report presents the first published findings from the 1995 School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) in addition to findings from a reanalysis of the 1989 SCS. Because of the issue's obvious importance to students, parents, educators, and policymakers, this first report focuses on the reported prevalence of crime in America's schools. More specifically, it explores student reports of victimization, drug availability, street gang presence, and gun presence at school.
One important finding that emerged from comparing estimates from the two time points was that more students were exposed to certain problems at school in 1995 than in 1989. As compared to students in 1989, students in 1995 were more likely to report that they had experienced violent victimization, could obtain drugs, and were aware of street gangs at school.
A second key finding was that various types of problems tended to co-exist. For instance, student reports of drug availability, street gang presence, and gun presence at school were all related to student reports of having experienced violent victimization at school. Reports of having experienced violent victimization were higher among students who reported that drugs were available than among students who reported that they were not. In addition, students who reported that street gangs were present were more likely than students who reported that they were not present to say that they had been violently victimized. Finally, students who reported seeing another student with a gun were more likely to say that they had experienced violent victimization than students who had not seen another student with a gun.
Because of the exploratory nature of this report, the crime variables were studied using bivariate analyses only. Future research will apply multivariate approaches to the data to help better understand possible interactions and patterns. Also, because the report focused on the important issues of school crime, it did not exhaustively cover all of the topics addressed by the data bases. Such topics as safety measures taken by schools to prevent crime, student avoidance of places in or near school because of fear of attack, and student perceptions of rule enforcement at school will form the basis of future work. It is the intent of both NCES and BJS to continue what has been a successful collaborative effort to conduct some of this research.