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School crime

Question:
Do you have any statistics on school crime?

Response:

The Crime and Safety Surveys Program collects and reports data on crime, violence, and safety in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. The following statistics are from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 report. The report covers topics such as victimization, bullying and electronic bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions.

School-Associated Violent Deaths

From July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, there were a total of 42 school-associated violent deaths in the United States, which included 28 homicides, 13 suicides, and 1 legal intervention death.1

Nonfatal Student Victimization—Student Reports

From 1992 to 2018, the total victimization rate and the rates of specific crimes—thefts and violent victimizations—declined for students ages 12–18, both at school and away from school.2

The total victimization rate at school declined from 181 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992 to 33 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2018—more than an 80 percent decrease. The total victimization rate away from school declined from 173 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992 to 16 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2018—more than a 90 percent decrease. The total victimization rate reported in 2018 was higher at school than away from school.

Violence and Crime at School

During the 2017–18 school year, 80 percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to 1.4 million incidents. This translates to a rate of 29 incidents per 1,000 students enrolled in 2017–18. During the same school year, 47 percent of schools reported one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes to the police, amounting to 422,800 incidents, or 9 incidents per 1,000 students enrolled.

In 2017–18, across all types of incidents, the percentage of public schools that reported one or more incidents to the police was lower than the percentage that recorded incidents: violent incidents3 (32 vs. 71 percent), serious violent incidents4 (15 vs. 21 percent), thefts (15 vs. 33 percent), and other incidents5 (35 vs. 60 percent).

The percentage of public schools that recorded one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes was lower in 2017–18 (80 percent) than in every survey year between 1999–2000 and 2009–10 (ranging from 85 to 89 percent); however, there was no measurable difference between the percentages in 2015–16 and 2017–18. Similarly, the percentage of schools that reported one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes to the police was lower in 2017–18 (47 percent) than in every survey year between 1999–2000 and 2009–10 (ranging from 60 to 65 percent); however, there was no measurable difference between the percentages in 2015–16 and 2017–18.

Perceptions of Personal Safety at School and Away From School—Student Reports

In 2017, about 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school6 during the school year. A lower percentage of students (3 percent) reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm away from school during the school year.

Illegal Drug Availability on School Property—Student Reports

The percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported that illegal drugs were made available to them on school property7 decreased from 29 percent in 2001 to 20 percent in 2017. However, no measurable differences were found between the percentages in 2015 and 2017.

1A school-associated violent death is defined as a homicide, suicide, or legal intervention death (involving a law enforcement officer), in which the fatal injury occurred on the campus of a functioning elementary or secondary school in the United States, while the victim was on the way to or from regular sessions at school, or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event. Victims may include not only students and staff members, but also others at school, such as students’ parents and community members. A legal intervention death is defined as a death caused by a law enforcement agent in the course of arresting or attempting to arrest a lawbreaker, suppressing a disturbance, maintaining order, or engaging in another legal action.
2 Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among youth in 2016 were not comparable to estimates for other years.
3 "Violent incidents" include serious violent incidents as well as physical attacks or fights without a weapon and threat of physical attacks without a weapon.
4 "Serious violent incidents" include rape, sexual assault other than rape, physical attacks or fights with a weapon, threat of physical attacks with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
5 "Other incidents" include possession of a firearm or explosive device; possession of a knife or sharp object; distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol; inappropriate distribution, possession, or use of prescription drugs; and vandalism.
6 "At school" includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school.
7 "On school property" was not defined for survey respondents.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (NCES 2020-063).


Percentage of public schools recording incidents of violence, theft, and other crimes at school, percentage reporting these incidents to the police, and rate of these incidents per 1,000 students, by type of incident: School year 2017–18

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

1 "Violent incidents" include "serious violent" incidents (see footnote 2) as well as physical attacks or fights without a weapon and threat of physical attacks without a weapon.
2 "Serious violent" incidents include rape, sexual assault other than rape, physical attacks or fights with a weapon, threat of physical attacks with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
3 Theft or larceny is taking things worth over $10 without personal confrontation.
4 "Other incidents" include possession of a firearm or explosive device; possession of a knife or sharp object; distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol; inappropriate distribution, possession, or use of prescription drugs; and vandalism.
NOTE: Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about crime and safety issues at the school. “At school” was defined as including activities that happen in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that hold school-sponsored events or activities. Respondents were instructed to include incidents that occurred before, during, and after normal school hours or when school activities or events were in session. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding and because schools that recorded or reported more than one type of crime incident were counted only once in the total percentage of schools recording or reporting incidents.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (NCES 2020-063), Figure 6.1.

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