Crime at Schools Flat in Latest DOJ Stats

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Serious crime at schools has not increased in the latest statistics to be released by the United States Department of Justice. In fact, in some cases, it's gone down. And, furthermore, school-aged children are still wildly more likely to be the victims of violent crime or theft away from school than at school, according to a recently released report from the DOJ and the U.S. Department of Education called Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007.

According to the report, there were 14 "school-associated homicides" that involved school-aged children in the one-year period between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, and students were more than 50 times more likely to be the victims of homicide away from school than at school during the period of study.

Overall, serious crimes (defined as rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, and theft by the DOJ) were statistically unchanged between the latest year in which these have been quantified (the 2005/2006 school year) and the previous year--57 in 1,000 students in 2005/2006 versus 55 in 1,000 students in 2004/2005.

What has changed dramatically, however, is the implementation of security measures in schools. For example, the number of schools reporting the use of security cameras has more than doubled from 20 percent in the 1999/2000 school year to 43 percent in 2005/2006. The requirement for faculty and staff to wear ID badges has also climbed, up from 25 percent in 1999/2000 to 48 percent in 2005/2006 (a figure that has remained stable since 2003/2004). Building access control during school hours has not changed nearly as much over that period, though it has increased slightly, from about 76 percent in 1999/2000 to 85 percent in 2005/2006.

Students are also noticing the changes in security measures. In 2001, 39 percent reported seeing security cameras in their schools; in 2005, that climbed to 58 percent. And those who noticed locked entrances or exits during school hours increased from 38 percent in 1999 to 54 percent in 2005. Ninety-nine percent of students aged 12 to 18 reported seeing some sort of security measure in school.

Other statistics worth noting include:

  • The number of students who reported carrying weapons to school declined from 12 percent in 1993 to 6 percent in 2005;
  • Students aged 15 to 18 were less likely to be the victims of crime at schools than students aged 12 to 14 but more likely to be victims away from schools;
  • Fewer students are avoiding one or more places in school for fear of their safety (9 percent in 1995 versus 4 percent in 2005);
  • Reports of gangs in schools was up slightly in 2005 to 24 percent versus 21 percent in 2003; and
  • Twenty-eight percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school in the latter half of the 2005/2006 school year, with 24 percent of those reporting that they sustained an injury as a result of the bullying.

The complete report, with year by year comparisons, is available via the link below.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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