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Indicator 21: Students' Reports of Safety and Security Measures Observed at School
(Last Updated: May 2017)

In 2015, about 83 percent of students ages 12–18 reported observing one or more security cameras to monitor the school, and 78 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.91 Students were asked about the presence of metal detectors, locker checks, security cameras, security guards or assigned police officers, other adults supervising hallways, badges or picture identification for students, a written code of student conduct, locked entrance or exit doors during the day, and a requirement that visitors sign in. In 2015, nearly all students ages 12–18 (rounds to 100 percent) reported that they observed the use of at least one of the selected safety and security measures at their schools (figure 21.1 and table 21.1). 


Figure 21.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported various safety and security measures at school: Selected years, 1999 through 2015

Figure 21.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported various safety and security measures at school: Selected years, 1999 through 2015

1 Data for 1999 are not available.
NOTE: “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, 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, 1999, 2001, 2013, and 2015.


In 2015, about 96 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 the presence of school staff (other than security guards or assigned police officers) or other adults supervising the hallway (90 percent each). About 83 percent of students reported the use of one or more security cameras to monitor the school, 78 percent reported locked entrance or exit doors during the day, 70 percent reported the presence of security guards or assigned police officers, 53 percent reported locker checks, and 24 percent reported that students were required to wear badges or picture identification at their schools. Approximately 12 percent of students reported the use of metal detectors at their schools, representing the least observed of all selected safety and security measures in 2015.

The percentage of students who reported locked entrance or exit doors during the day increased between 1999 and 2015 (from 38 to 78 percent), as did the percentages of students who reported the presence of metal detectors (from 9 to 12 percent) and the presence of security guards or assigned police officers (from 54 to 70 percent). However, no measurable differences were found between the two most recent survey years (2013 and 2015) in the percentages of students reporting these three safety and security measures. The percentage of students who reported observing school staff (other than security guards or assigned police officers) or other adults supervising the hallway was higher in 2015 (90 percent) than in 1999 (85 percent), but the percentage was not measurably different between 2013 and 2015. In 2015, the percentage of students who reported a requirement that visitors sign in (90 percent) was higher than in 1999 (87 percent) but lower than the percentage in 2013 (96 percent).

Beginning in 2001, students were asked whether they observed the use of one or more security cameras to monitor the school at their schools. From 2001 to 2015, the percentage of students who reported the use of security cameras at their schools increased from 39 to 83 percent. In addition, the percentage in 2015 was higher than in 2013 (77 percent).


This indicator repeats information from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 report. For more information: Table 21.1, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


91 Readers should note that 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 20 for a summary of the use of various safety and security measures as reported by schools.