Skip Navigation
Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School

Last Updated: May 2021
|
This indicator also appears under School Crime and Safety.

For students ages 12–18, the rate of victimization at school (victimization occurring when students were on school property or on their way to or from school) reported in 2019 (30 victimizations per 1,000 students) was higher than the rate of victimization not in connection with school (20 victimizations per 1,000 students).

Data from the 2019 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)1 indicated that students ages 12–18 experienced 764,600 total victimizations (i.e., thefts2 and nonfatal violent victimizations3) at or on the way to or from school, and 509,300 total victimizations not in connection with school.4 The total victimization rates were 30 victimizations per 1,000 students at, or on the way to or from, school, compared with 20 victimizations per 1,000 students not in connection with school. (For ease of communication, victimizations taking place in the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school, will hereafter be referred to as “at school,” while victimizations taking place elsewhere will be referred to as “away from school.”)

The NCVS is a self-reported survey that is administered annually from January 1 to December 31. Annual NCVS estimates are based on the number and characteristics of crimes that respondents experienced during the prior 6 months, not including the month in which they were interviewed. Therefore, the 2019 survey covers crimes experienced from July 1, 2018, to November 30, 2019; the midpoint of the reference period is March 15, 2019. Crimes are classified by the year of the survey, not by the year of the crime.

Select a subgroup characteristic from drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2019
Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2019

1 In prior reports, “violent victimization excluding simple assault” was labeled as “serious violent victimization.”

NOTE: 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. “All violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “Total victimization” includes thefts and violent crimes. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,528,100 in 2019. Estimates may vary from previously published reports.

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 1992 through 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 228.20.

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.5 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. [Time series ] [Historical (pre-1999)]
Considering theft alone, between 1992 and 2019, the rate of victimization at school for students ages 12–18 was higher than or not statistically different from the rate away from school. Based on the 2019 survey, the rate of theft was higher for students at school (9 per 1,000 students) than away from school (6 per 1,000 students). [Time series ] [Historical (pre-1999)]
Between 1992 and 2000, the rate of violent victimization at school among students ages 12–18 was either lower than or not statistically different from the rate away from school. From 2001 to 2019, however, the rate of violent victimization at school was higher than or not statistically different from the rate away from school. Based on the 2019 survey, the rate of violent victimization at school (21 victimizations per 1,000 students) was higher than the rate of violent victimization away from school (14 victimizations per 1,000 students). This difference was driven primarily by the rate of simple assault at school (16 victimizations per 1,000 students) being higher than the rate away from school (8 victimizations per 1,000 students).6 [Time series ] [Historical (pre-1999)]
Among students ages 12–18, the rate of violent victimization excluding simple assault7 was lower at school than away from school in most years between 1992 and 2008. Between 2009 and 2019, there was no statistically significant difference between the rates of violent victimization excluding simple assault at school and away from school. In 2019, the rates of violent victimization excluding simple assault were 5 victimizations per 1,000 students both at school and away from school. [Time series ] [Historical (pre-1999)]
Figure 2. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and sex: 2019
Figure 2. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and sex: 2019

NOTE: “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “Total victimization” includes thefts and violent crimes. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,528,100 in 2019. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding and missing data on student characteristics.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 228.25.

Based on the 2019 survey, the total victimization rate at school among students ages 12–18 was higher for male students (40 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for female students (20 victimizations per 1,000 students). This difference was driven primarily by the rate of violent victimization at school against male students (29 victimizations per 1,000 students) being higher than the rate against female students (12 victimizations per 1,000 students). Away from school, in contrast, the rate of violent victimization was higher for female students (19 victimizations per 1,000 students) than male students (8 victimizations per 1,000 students), but there was no statistically significant difference in total victimizations. For thefts, there were no statistically significant differences in rates of victimization between male and female students either at school or away from school. [Sex]
Figure 3. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and age: 2019
Figure 3. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and age: 2019

NOTE: “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “Total victimization” includes thefts and violent crimes. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,528,100 in 2019. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding and missing data on student characteristics. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 228.25.

Based on the 2019 survey, the total victimization rate at school did not differ significantly for students ages 12–14 compared with students ages 15–18. However, students ages 12–14 experienced a higher rate of simple assault at school than did students ages 15–18 (24 vs. 8 victimizations per 1,000 students), while students ages 15–18 experienced a higher rate of violent victimization excluding simple assault at school than did students ages 12–14 (7 vs. 3 victimizations per 1,000 students). Away from school, the total victimization rate was lower for students ages 12–14 (12 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students ages 15–18 (28 victimizations per 1,000 students). This was primarily driven by the rate of violent victimization away from school for students ages 15–18 (20 victimizations per 1,000 students) being higher than the rate for students ages 12–14 (7 victimizations per 1,000 students). There were no statistically significant differences in the rates of theft between age groups at or away from school. [Age group]
At school, the total victimization rate reported in 2019 did not differ significantly between racial/ethnic groups.8 This was also the case for theft and violent victimization individually. Away from school, the total victimization rate was higher for White students (25 victimizations per 1,000 students) than Hispanic students (11 victimizations per 1,000 students), which was driven primarily by a higher rate of violent victimizations for White students than for Hispanic students (19 vs. 5 victimizations per 1,000 students). Rates of theft away from school did not differ significantly between racial/ethnic groups. [Race/ethnicity ]
Similar to race/ethnicity, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of total victimization or violent victimization at school by household income level in 2019. Away from school, however, the total victimization rate was lower for students living in households with incomes of $50,000–$99,999 per year (12 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students living in households with incomes of less than $25,000 (31 victimizations per 1,000 students). There were also differences in rates of theft by household income both at school and away from school, although these differences were not consistent. At school, thefts were higher for students living in households with incomes of $100,000 or more per year (11 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students living in households with incomes of $25,000–$49,999 (5 victimizations per 1,000 students). Away from school, in contrast, the theft rate was highest for students living in households with incomes of less than $25,000 (15 victimizations per 1,000 students). [Socioeconomic status (SES) ]
Unlike race/ethnicity and household income, total victimization rates at school for students ages 12–18 did vary by urbanicity9 in 2019. The total victimization rate at school was higher for students in urban areas (41 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students in suburban areas (23 victimizations per 1,000 students). Students in urban areas also experienced a higher theft victimization rate (13 victimizations per 1,000 students) and violent victimization rate (28 victimizations per 1,000 students) at school than did students in suburban areas (7 and 16 victimizations per 1,000 students, respectively). The rate of theft away from school was also lower for students in suburban areas (3 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students in urban areas (10 victimizations per 1,000 students) and rural areas (12 victimizations per 1,000 students). In contrast, the rate of violent crime away from school was higher for students in suburban areas (16 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students in urban areas (9 victimizations per 1,000 students). Taken together, these divergent patterns in theft and violent victimization mean that there were no statistically significant differences by urbanicity for the total victimization rate away from school. [Locale ]

1 Although this indicator (“Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS.

2 “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force, and is classified as a violent crime.

3 “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.

4 “Students” refers to those ages 12–18 whose educational attainment did not exceed grade 12 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 or away from school. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school.

5 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.

6 “Simple assault” is the difference between total violent victimizations and violent victimizations excluding simple assault. It includes threats, as well as attacks without a weapon that do not result in serious injury.

7 “Violent victimization excluding simple assault” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. In prior reports, this was labeled as “serious violent victimization.”

8 All students who were of a race/ethnicity other than White, Black, or Hispanic were combined for reporting and analyses. These students included those who were Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of Two or more races.

9 Urbanicity refers to the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) status of the respondent's household as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Categories include “central city of an MSA (Urban),” “in MSA but not in central city (Suburban),” and “not MSA (Rural).”

Supplemental Information

Table 228.20 (Digest 2020): Number of nonfatal victimizations against students ages 12-18 and rate of victimization per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2019;
Table 228.25 (Digest 2020): Number of nonfatal victimizations against students ages 12-18 and rate of victimization per 1,000 students, by type of victimization, location, and selected student characteristics: 2019
CLOSE
Previous versions of this indicator available in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports.
CLOSE

Suggested Citation

National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a02.