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Indicator 20: Students’ Reports of Safety and Security Measures Observed at School
(Last Updated: April 2019)

In 2017, about 84 percent of students ages 12–18 reported observing one or more security cameras to monitor the school, and 79 percent of students reported observing locked entrance or exit doors during the day at their schools.

In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked whether their schools used certain safety and security measures.87 Students were asked about metal detectors, locker checks, security cameras, security guards or assigned police officers, other adults supervising the hallway, a requirement that students wear badges or picture identification, a written code of student conduct, locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and a requirement that visitors sign in and wear visitor badges or stickers. In 2017, about 99 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they observed the use of at least one of the selected safety and security measures at their schools (figure 20.1 and table 20.1).


Figure 20.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported various safety and security measures at school: 2001, 2015, and 2017

Figure 20.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported various safety and security measures at school: 2001, 2015, and 2017

—Not available.
1 Prior to 2015, the question asked simply whether the school had “A requirement that visitors sign in.” As of 2015, the question has also included the requirement that visitors wear badges or stickers. Data for 2001 have been omitted because the change in questionnaire wording may affect comparability of the data over time.
NOTE: “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, 2015, and 2017.


In 2017, about 95 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that their schools had a written code of student conduct, higher than the percentages for all other safety and security measures examined. Most students also reported a requirement that visitors sign in and wear visitor badges or stickers (90 percent), and most reported the presence of school staff (other than security guards or assigned police officers) or other adults supervising the hallway (88 percent). About 84 percent of students reported the use of one or more security cameras to monitor the school, 79 percent reported locked entrance or exit doors during the day, 71 percent reported the presence of security guards or assigned police officers, 48 percent reported locker checks, and 24 percent reported that students were required to wear badges or picture identification at their schools. Ten percent of students reported the use of metal detectors at their schools, making this the least observed of all selected safety and security measures in 2017.

The percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported observing the use of one or more security cameras to monitor the school increased between 2001 and 2017 (from 39 to 84 percent), as did the percentages of students who reported observing the use of locked entrance or exit door during the day (from 49 to 79 percent) and who reported observing the presence of security guards or assigned police officers (from 64 to 71 percent). However, the percentages of students reporting these three safety and security measures did not measurably differ between the two most recent survey years (2015 and 2017). The percentage of students who reported a requirement that students wear badges or picture identification was higher in 2017 than in 2001 (24 vs. 21 percent), but this percentage was also not measurably different between the two most recent survey years.

The percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported observing locker checks decreased between 2001 and 2017 (from 54 to 48 percent). The percentages of students who reported locker checks and the presence of metal detectors were both lower in 2017 than in 2015 (48 vs. 53 percent and 10 vs. 12 percent, respectively). The percentages of students who reported a written code of student conduct and the presence of school staff (other than security guards or assigned police officers) or other adults supervising the hallway were not measurably different between 2001 and 2017, or between 2015 and 2017. The percentage of students who reported a requirement that visitors sign in and wear visitor badges or stickers was not measurably different between 2015 and 2017.88


This indicator has been updated to include 2017 data. For more information: Table 20.1, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


87 This indicator relies on student reports of safety and security measures and provides estimates based on students’ awareness of the measure rather than on documented practice. See Indicator 19 for a summary of the use of various safety and security measures as reported by schools.
88 Prior to 2015, the question asked simply whether the school had “A requirement that visitors sign in.” As of 2015, the question has also included the requirement that visitors wear badges or stickers. Data for 2001 have been omitted because the change in questionnaire wording may affect comparability of the data over time.