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Indicator 2: Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School21
(Last Updated: April 2019)

For students ages 12—18, the rate of violent victimization reported in 2017 was higher at school than away from school. The 2017 violent victimization rates were 21 victimizations per 1,000 students at school, compared to 12 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school.

Data from the 2017 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) estimated that students ages 12–18 experienced 827,000 total victimizations (i.e., theft22 and nonfatal violent victimization23) at school and 503,800 total victimizations away from school (table 2.1).24 The total victimization rates were 33 victimizations per 1,000 students at school, compared to 20 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school.

The NCVS is a self-reported survey that is administered from January to December. Respondents are asked about the number and characteristics of crimes they have experienced during the prior 6 months. Crimes are classified by the year of the survey and not by the year of the crime.

From 1992 to 2017, the total victimization rate and rates of specific crimes—thefts, violent victimizations, and serious violent victimizations25—declined for students ages 12–18, both at school and away from school (figure 2.1).26


Figure 2.1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2017

Figure 2.1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2017

1 Serious violent victimization is also included in all 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 to other years. Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among youth in 2016 were not comparable to estimates for other years. “Serious violent victimization” includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. “All violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes as well as 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 Indicators 2 and 3 present information on similar topics, Indicator 2 is based solely on data collected in the NCVS, whereas Indicator 3 is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. Indicator 2 uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while Indicator 3 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 25,324,200 in 2017. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding. Estimates may vary from previously published reports.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 1992 through 2017.


In most years between 1992 and 2008 and in 2012, the rate of theft was higher at school than away from school for students ages 12–18. In every year between 2009 and 2015 (except 2012), there were no statistically significant differences between the rates of theft at school and away from school. Similar to earlier years, the rate of theft reported in 2017 was higher at school (12 thefts per 1,000 students) than away from school (7 thefts per 1,000 students).

Between 1992 and 2000, the rate of violent victimization at school was either lower than or not measurably different from the rate away from school among students ages 12–18. From 2001 to 2017, the rate of violent victimization at school was generally higher than or not measurably different from the rate away from school. Based on the 2017 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 (12 victimizations per 1,000 students). This difference was driven primarily by a higher rate of simple assault27 at school (16 victimizations per 1,000 students) than away from school (7 victimizations per 1,000).

The rate of serious violent victimization among 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.

Based on the 2017 survey, the rate of total victimization, as well as the rates of theft and serious violent victimization at school did not differ measurably for male and female students ages 12–18 (figure 2.2 and table 2.2). The rate of violent victimization at school was higher for male students ages 12–18 (25 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for female students ages 12–18 (16 victimizations per 1,000 students). Away from school, the rates of total victimization and theft for male students did not differ measurably from the rates for female students. The rate of violent victimization away from school was higher for male students (16 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for female students (9 victimizations per 1,000 students), and the rate of serious violent victimization away from school was higher for male students (8 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for female students (3 victimizations per 1,000 students).


Figure 2.2. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and sex: 2017

Figure 2.2. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and sex: 2017

NOTE: “Violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) as well as 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 Indicators 2 and 3 present information on similar topics, Indicator 2 is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), whereas Indicator 3 is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. Indicator 2 uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while Indicator 3 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 25,324,200 in 2017. 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), 2017.


Based on the 2017 survey, the total victimization rate and theft rate at school did not differ measurably between students ages 12–14 and students ages 15–18. However, the rate of violent victimization at school was higher for students ages 12–14 (27 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students ages 15–18 (14 victimizations per 1,000 students; figure 2.3 and table 2.2). Away from school, the rates of total victimization, theft, and violent victimization for students ages 12–14 did not differ measurably from the rates for students ages 15–18.


Figure 2.3. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and age: 2017

Figure 2.3. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and age: 2017

NOTE: “Violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) as well as 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 Indicators 2 and 3 present information on similar topics, Indicator 2 is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), whereas Indicator 3 is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. Indicator 2 uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while Indicator 3 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 25,324,200 in 2017. 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), 2017..


At school, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of total victimization, theft, or violent victimization of students ages 12–18 by race/ethnicity reported in 2017 (table 2.2). Away from school, however, the rate of total victimization was higher for White students (25 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for Black students (13 victimizations per 1,000 students).

Rates of total victimization reported in 2017 for students ages 12–18 differed by urbanicity, both at school and away from school (table 2.2). At school, the rate of total victimization was lower for students residing in suburban areas (25 victimizations per 1,000 students) and rural areas (29 victimizations per 1,000 students) than in urban areas (49 victimizations per 1,000 students). The theft rate at school was lower for students residing in suburban areas (10 victimizations per 1,000 students) than in urban areas (17 victimizations per 1,000 students). In addition, the violent victimization rate at school was lower for students residing in suburban areas (15 victimizations per 1,000 students) than in urban areas (32 victimizations per 1,000 students).

Away from school, the rate of total victimization was lower for students residing in suburban areas (15 victimizations per 1,000 students) than in rural areas (32 victimizations per 1,000 students), and the rate of theft was lower for students residing in suburban areas (5 thefts per 1,000 students) than in rural areas (15 thefts per 1,000 students). Among students living in urban areas, rates of total victimization away from school (23 victimizations per 1,000 students) and theft away from school (9 thefts per 1,000 students) did not differ significantly from students living in other areas. There were no statistically significant differences between the rates of violent victimization away from school by urbanicity.


This indicator has been updated to include 2017 data. For more information: Tables 2.1 and 2.2.


21 Although Indicators 2 and 3 present information on similar topics, Indicator 2 is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), whereas Indicator 3 is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. Indicator 2 uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while Indicator 3 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.
22 “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.
23 “Violent victimization” includes serious violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) and simple assault.
24 “Students” refers to youth 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.
25 “Serious violent victimization” includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.
26 Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among youth in 2016 were not comparable to estimates for other years.
27 “Simple assault” is the difference between total violent victimizations and serious violent victimizations. It includes threats and attacks without a weapon or serious injury