Skip Navigation

A Look at Crime and Safety in the Nation's Schools
May 4, 2016

New report shows decrease in incidents at schools and colleges

Crime in the nation's schools and college campuses has declined over the past two decades, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). However, the report also shows racial disparities in student discipline and a significant increase in the number of forcible sex crimes reported on college campuses.

The new report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2015, is the 18th in a series of annual publications produced jointly by NCES, in the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice.

The report presents statistics on crime and safety at schools and on college campuses, drawing upon an array of data collected from students, teachers, principals, and postsecondary institutions. It covers topics such as victimization, school conditions, discipline problems, disciplinary actions, safety and security measures at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions. This year's report also includes topics related to student suspension and expulsion and juvenile offenders in residential placement.

"This report provides important information about the climate of safety in our nation's schools and on college campuses. These are the places where we expect students to learn and grow" said Peggy G. Carr, acting commissioner of NCES. "The data show that we have made progress; bullying is down, crime is down, but it's not enough. There is still much policy makers should be concerned about. Incident levels are still much too high."

In 2014, students ages 12–18 experienced 33 nonfatal victimizations per 1,000 students at school. This was down from 181 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992, a decline of 82 percent, according to the NCES/BJS report.

The report shows that African American and Hispanic students are suspended more often than their peers. In 2011-2012, 6.4 percent of all public school students received an out-of-school suspension. The rate for African American (15.4 percent) and Hispanic (5.9 percent) students was higher than it was for other racial or ethnic subgroups, such as White (4.3 percent) and Asian (1.5 percent) students.

The new report shows a drop in the number of criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions but reflects an increase in reported sexual assaults on college campuses. In 2013, there were 27,600 criminal incidents on campuses at postsecondary institutions that were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 34 percent decrease from incidents reported in 2001 (41,600 incidents). However, reported forcible sex crimes on college campuses more than doubled between 2001 and 2013, from 2,200 to 5,000 incidents.

Other key findings include:

Discipline and Punishment

School Safety

Safety Measures and Training

Postsecondary Institutions

To view the full report, please visit

Media Contact: Lauren Musu-Gillette, National Center for Education Statistics, 202-245-7045, or Dana Tofig, Institute of Education Sciences, 202-245-8235,