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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 come from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2018 report and Table 7 of the Crime and Safety Surveys Table Library. The Indicators report is organized into sections that delineate specific concerns to readers, starting with a description of the most serious violent crimes. The sections cover violent deaths; nonfatal student and teacher victimization; school environment; fights, weapons, and illegal substances; fear and avoidance; discipline, safety, and security measures; and campus safety and security. The Crime and Safety Surveys Table Library is a series of web tables compiled using data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) and the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

Disruptions at School—Principal Reports

The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) collected information on incidents that disrupted school activities, such as unplanned fire alarms (i.e., false alarms) and other threats (e.g., death threats, bomb threats, or chemical, biological, or radiological threats). During the 2015–16 school year, 31 percent of public schools reported having at least one incident that disrupted activities at their school, amounting to 50,900 disruptive incidents nationwide. About 40,300 of these disruptions were due to unplanned fire alarms and 10,600 disruptions were due to other threats. Some 26 percent of schools reported that unplanned fire alarms disrupted school activities at least once during the school year. Meanwhile, 8 percent of schools reported that school activities were disrupted at least once by a threat other than a fire alarm.

Some 27 percent of primary schools, 32 percent of middle schools, and 44 percent of high schools reported having at least one disruption. Twenty-three percent of primary schools, 26 percent of middle schools, and 38 percent of high schools reported at least one incident of an unplanned fire alarm. Disruptions from threats aside from fire alarms were reported by 7 percent of primary schools, 9 percent of middle schools, and 15 percent of high schools.

Among schools located in rural areas, 24 percent reported at least one disruption compared with 36 percent of schools in cities and 31 percent of schools in suburbs.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Crime and Safety Surveys Table Library, Table 7.


Violent Deaths at School

From July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, there were a total of 38 student, staff, and other nonstudent school-associated violent deaths in the United States, which included 30 homicides, 7 suicides, and 1 legal intervention death.1

Nonfatal Student Victimization—Student Reports

From 1992 to 2017, the total victimization rate and rates of specific crimes—thefts, violent victimizations, and serious violent victimizations2—declined for students ages 1218, both at school and away from school

The rate of serious violent victimization against students ages 12–18 was lower at school than away from school in most years between 1992 and 2008. Between 2009 and 2015 and in 2017, there was no statistically significant difference between the rate of serious violent victimizations at school and away from school. The serious violent victimization rates reported in 2017 were 4 victimizations per 1,000 students at school and 6 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school.

Violence and Crime at School—Principal Reports

During the 2015–16 school year, 79 percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to 1.4 million crimes. This translates to a rate of 28 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 2015–16. During the same school year, 47 percent of schools reported one or more of the specified crimes to the police, amounting to 449,000 crimes, or 9 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled.

For many types of crime, the percentages of public schools recording incidents of crime or reporting incidents of crime to the police were lower in 2015–16 than in 2009–10. For instance, 65 percent of public schools recorded incidents of physical attack or fight without a weapon in 2015–16 compared to 71 percent in 2009–10, and 25 percent reported such incidents to the police in 2015–16 compared with 34 percent in 2009–10.

In 2015–16, the percentage of public schools that recorded incidents of violent crime, serious violent crime, theft, and other incidents varied by school characteristics. For example, 57 percent of primary schools recorded violent incidents compared with 88 percent of middle schools and 90 percent of high schools. Similarly, a lower percentage of primary schools recorded serious violent incidents (9 percent) than middle and high schools (23 and 30 percent, respectively), a lower percentage of primary schools recorded incidents of theft (23 percent) than middle and high schools (55 and 76 percent, respectively), and a lower percentage of primary schools recorded other incidents (43 percent) than middle and high schools (77 and 88 percent, respectively).

Teachers Threatened with Injury—Teacher Reports

During the 2015–16 school year, 10 percent of public school teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school. This percentage was lower than in 1993–94 (13 percent), but higher than in 2003–04 (7 percent) and 2007–08 (8 percent). There was no measurable difference between the percentages of public school teachers who reported being threatened with injury by a student in 2011–12 and 2015–16. The percentage of public school teachers reporting that they had been physically attacked by a student from their school in 2015–16 (6 percent) was higher than in all previous survey years (around 4 percent in each survey year) except in 2011–12, when the percentage was not measurably different from that in 2015–16.

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 school 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 property decreased from 29 percent in 2001 to 20 percent in 2017. However, no measurable differences were found between the percentages in 2015 and 2017.

1 Data from 1999–2000 onward 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 "Serious violent victimization" includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2018 (NCES 2019-047).


Percentage of public schools recording incidents of crime at school and reporting these incidents to the police, and the rate of crimes per 1,000 students, by type of crime: School year 201516

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 attack or fight without a weapon and threat of physical attack without a weapon.
2 "Serious violent" incidents include rape, sexual assault other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
3 Theft or larceny (taking things worth over $10 without personal confrontation) was defined for respondents as "the unlawful taking of another person's property without personal confrontation, threat, violence, or bodily harm." This includes pocket picking, stealing a purse or backpack (if left unattended or no force was used to take it from owner), theft from a building, theft from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts or accessories, theft of a bicycle, theft from a vending machine, and all other types of thefts.
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 to include 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. (2019). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2018 (NCES 2019-047), Figure 6.1.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

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