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School Crime and Safety, 2001

Victimization at School and Away from School

Theft and violence at school can lead to a disruptive and threatening environment, physical injury, and emotional stress and can be an obstacle to student achievement (Elliott, Hamburg, and Williams 1998). Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey show that students ages 12–18 were victims of about 2 million nonfatal crimes (theft plus violent crime) while they were at school and about 1.7 million crimes while they were away from school in 2001.1 These figures represent victimization rates of 73 crimes per 1,000 students at school, and 61 crimes per 1,000 students away from school (figure 1).

The victimization rate for students ages 12–18 generally declined for thefts, violent crimes, and serious violent crimes at school and away from school between 1992 and 2001 (figure 1). Specifically, the violent victimization rate generally declined between 1992 and 2001 from 48 to 28 crimes per 1,000 students at school and from 71 to 28 crimes per 1,000 students away from school.

Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal crimes against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of crime and location: 1992–2001


Rate of nonfatal crimes against students ages 1218 per 1,000 students, by type of crime and location: 19922001

NOTE: Serious violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes include serious violent crimes and simple assault. Total crimes include violent crimes and theft. "At school" includes inside the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school.
SOURCE: Figure 2.1 in U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2003, NCES 2004004, by Jill DeVoe Jill, Katharin Peter, Sally Ruddy, Amanda Miller, Mike Planty, Thomas Snyder, and Mike Rand. Washington, DC: 2004.

Student Perceptions

School violence can make students fearful and affect their readiness and ability to learn. Concerns about vulnerability to attacks also have a detrimental effect on the school environment (Elliott, Hamburg, and Williams 1998). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked how often they were afraid of attack2 "at school or on the way to and from school" and "away from school" during the previous 6 months. Between 1999 and 2001, there was no change detected in the percentage of students who felt unsafe at school or on the way to and from school (table 1). However, between 1995 and 1999, there was a decrease in the percentage of students who felt unsafe. In 2001, 6 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they sometimes or most of the time were fearful about their safety at school compared with 12 percent in 1995. Away from school in 2001, 5 percent of students feared being attacked. In both 1999 and 2001, Black and Hispanic students were more likely than White students to fear for their safety at school or on the way to and from school and away from school (figure 2 and table 1).

Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being afraid at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months, by race/ethnicity: 1995, 1999, and 2001


 Percentage of students ages 1218 who reported being afraid at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months, by race/ethnicity: 1995, 1999, and 2001

1Other includes Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians (including Alaska Natives). Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified.
NOTE: In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of "attack or harm" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001, students reported fear of "attack or threat of attack" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.
SOURCE: Figure 12.1 in U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2003, NCES 2004004, by Jill DeVoe Jill, Katharin Peter, Sally Ruddy, Amanda Miller, Mike Planty, Thomas Snyder, and Mike Rand. Washington, DC: 2004.

Tables/Figures View Table 1.

Bullying at School

Bullying can contribute to an environment of fear and intimidation in schools (Arnette and Walsleben 1998; Ericson 2001). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked if they had been bullied (for example, picked on or made to do things they did not want to do) at school. 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 (figure 3). In 1999 and 2001, grade level was inversely related to students’ likelihood of being bullied: as grade level increased, students’ likelihood of being bullied decreased (figure 3 and table 2). For example, in 2001, 14 percent of 6th-graders, 9 percent of 9th-graders, and 2 percent of 12th-graders reported that they had been bullied at school.

Figure 3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the previous 6 months, by grade: 1999 and 2001


Percentage of students ages 1218 who reported being bullied at school during the previous 6 months, by grade: 1999 and 2001

NOTE: In the 1999 survey, "at school" was defined as in the school building, on the school grounds, or on a school bus. In the 2001 survey, "at school" was defined as in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.
SOURCE: Figure 6.2 in U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2003, NCES 2004004, by Jill DeVoe Jill, Katharin Peter, Sally Ruddy, Amanda Miller, Mike Planty, Thomas Snyder, and Mike Rand. Washington, DC: 2004.

Tables/Figures View Table 2.

References

Arnette, J.L., and Walsleben, M.C. (1998). Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools (NCJ 167888). Bulletin. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Elliott, D.S., Hamburg, B.A., and Williams, K.R. (1998). Violence in American Schools: An Overview. In Elliott, D.S., Hamburg, B.A., and Williams, K.R. (Eds.), Violence in American Schools (pp. 3–28). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ericson, N. (2001). Addressing the Problem of Juvenile Bullying. OJJDP Fact Sheet #27. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


1 "Students" refers to persons 12–18 years of age who reported being in any elementary or secondary grade at the time of the survey. An uncertain percentage of these persons may not have attended school during the survey reference period. These data do not take into account the number of hours that students spend at school and the number of hours they spend away from school.

2 In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of "attack or harm" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001, students reported fear of "attack or threat of attack" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.

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