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Indicator 8: Students' Reports of Gangs at School
(Last Updated: May 2017)

Between 2001 and 2015, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at their school decreased from 20 to 11 percent. The percentage who reported gangs were present at their school was also lower in 2015 than in 2013 (12 percent). A higher percentage of students from urban areas (15 percent) reported a gang presence than of students from suburban (10 percent) and rural areas (4 percent) in 2015.

In order to assess gang activity in and around the vicinity of schools, the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey asked students ages 12–18 if gangs were present at their school49 during the school year. All gangs, whether or not they are involved in violent or illegal activity, are included. Between 2001 and 2015, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at their school decreased from 20 to 11 percent. The percentage who reported gangs were present at their school was also lower in 2015 than in 2013 (12 percent; figure 8.1 and table 8.1).


Figure 8.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at school during the school year, by urbanicity: Selected years, 2001 through 2015

Figure 8.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at school during the school year, by urbanicity: Selected years, 2001 through 2015

NOTE: "Urbanicity" refers to the Standard 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)." All gangs, whether or not they are involved in violent or illegal activity, are included. "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 Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2001 through 2015.


In 2015, a higher percentage of students from urban areas (15 percent) reported a gang presence at their school than of students from suburban (10 percent) and rural areas (4 percent). The percentage of students from urban areas who reported a gang presence at their school was lower in 2015 than in every survey year between 2001 (29 percent) and 2011 (23 percent). However, there was no measurable change in this percentage between 2013 and 2015. The same pattern was observed for students from suburban and rural areas, with lower percentages of students reporting a gang presence in 2015 than in all years from 2001 to 2011, but no measurable change between 2013 and 2015.

A higher percentage of students attending public schools (11 percent) than of students attending private schools (2 percent) reported that gangs were present at their school in 2015. The percentage of public school students who reported a gang presence was lower in 2015 than in 2013 (13 percent). However, the percentage of private school students reporting a gang presence at their school in 2015 was not measurably different from the percentage in 2013.

In 2015, higher percentages of Black (17 percent) and Hispanic (15 percent) students reported the presence of gangs at their school than of White (7 percent) and Asian (4 percent) students (figure 8.2 and table 8.1). In addition, a higher percentage of White students than of Asian students reported a gang presence. The percentage of students who reported a gang presence was lower in 2015 than in 2013 for both Hispanic (15 vs. 20 percent) and Asian (4 vs. 9 percent) students, while the percentages reported in 2015 by White and Black students and students of other racial/ethnic groups were not measurably different from the percentages reported in 2013.


Figure 8.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at school during the school year, by race/ethnicity: 2013 and 2015

Figure 8.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that gangs were present at school during the school year, by race/ethnicity: 2013 and 2015

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. "Other" includes American Indians/Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and persons of Two or more races. All gangs, whether or not they are involved in violent or illegal activity, are included. "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 Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2013 and 2015.


The percentages of students in 9th through 12th grade who reported a gang presence at their school were higher than the percentages for students in 6th through 8th grade in 2015. About 13 percent each of 9th-, 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders reported the presence of gangs, compared with 7 percent each of 7th- and 8th-graders and 6 percent of 6th-graders.


This indicator repeats information from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 report. For more information: Table 8.1, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


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