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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 School Crime and Safety topic area in the Condition of Education system of indicators. These indicators focus on topics such as school shootings; student and teacher victimization; fights, weapons, and illegal substances; and discipline, safety and security practices.

School-Associated Violent Deaths

From July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, there were a total of 56 school-associated violent deaths in the United States, which included 46 homicides, 9 suicides, and 1 legal intervention death.1

Nonfatal Student Victimization—Student Reports

From 1992 to 2019, 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 30 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2019—more than an 80 percent decrease. The total victimization rate away from school declined from 173 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992 to 20 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2019—more than an 85 percent decrease. The total victimization rate reported in 2019 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.

Not all recorded incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes were reported to the police. In 2017–18, across all types of incidents3, the percentage of public schools that reported one or more incidents to the police was lower than the percentage that recorded incidents: violent incidents (32 vs. 71 percent), serious violent incidents (15 vs. 21 percent), thefts (15 vs. 33 percent), and other incidents (35 vs. 60 percent). In terms of rates, there were 4 violent incidents per 1,000 students reported to the police by schools compared with 20 violent incidents per 1,000 students recorded by schools; 1 theft per 1,000 students reported compared with 3 thefts per 1,000 students recorded; and 4 other incidents per 1,000 students reported compared with 7 other incidents per 1,000 students recorded.

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

In 2019, about 5 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school4 during the school year, which is higher than the percentage of students (3 percent) who 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

In 2019, about 22 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported using marijuana at least one time during the previous 30 days; the percentage of students who reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property in the previous 12 months was also 22 percent in 2019. These percentages were not measurably different from their corresponding percentages in 2009.

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." School-associated violent deaths also include those that occurred 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. Data are subject to change until law enforcement reports have been obtained and interviews with school and law enforcement officials have been completed. The details learned during the interviews can occasionally change the classification of a case.
2 Every 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) sample is redesigned to reflect changes in the population. Due to the sample redesign and other methodological changes implemented in 2006, use caution when comparing 2006 estimates with other years. Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among students ages 12–18 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. “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. Theft or larceny refers to taking things worth over $10 without personal confrontation. “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.

4 "At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020 (NCES 2021-092), Violent Deaths at School and Away From School and School Shootings, Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School , Violent and Other Criminal Incidents Recorded by Public Schools and Those Reported to the Police , Students’ Perceptions of Personal Safety at School and Away From School, and Marijuana Use and Illegal Drug Availability .


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 are 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. (2021). Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020 (NCES 2021-092), Violent and Other Criminal Incidents Recorded by Public Schools and Those Reported to the Police.

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