Crime in the nation's schools and college campuses has declined over the past two decades, according to a report released today (May 16). The report also shows the prevalence of peer victimization among third graders and a significant increase in the number of forcible sex crimes reported on college campuses.
The new report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2016, is the 19th in a series of annual publications produced jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics, in the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics 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 international comparisons of school crime and safety, peer victimization in third grade, and student victimization and risk behaviors by sexual orientation.
The report shows that a higher percentage of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students, compared to heterosexual students, reported that they had been bullied on school property (34 vs. 19 percent) as well as electronically bullied (28 vs. 14 percent) during the previous year.
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 2014, there were 27,000 criminal incidents on campuses at postsecondary institutions that were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 35 percent decrease from incidents reported in 2001 (41,600 incidents). However, reported forcible sex crimes on college campuses more than tripled between 2001 and 2014, from 2,200 to 6,700 incidents.
Other key findings include:
Bullying and Peer Victimization
- In 2015, about 15 percent of U.S. fourth-graders and 7 percent of U.S. eighth-graders reported experiencing bullying at least once a month. These percentages were lower than the international averages of 16 and 8 percent, respectively;
- In the spring of 2014, about 15 percent of third-graders reported that they were frequently teased, made fun of, or called names by other students; 22 percent were frequently the subject of lies or untrue stories; 14 percent were frequently pushed, shoved, slapped, hit, or kicked; and 15 percent were frequently excluded from play on purpose; and
- Between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of students reporting being bullied at school during the school year decreased from 28 to 21 percent.
- In 2015, there were 33 victimizations per 1,000 students (ages 12 to 18) at school. This was down from 181 victimizations per 1,000 students in 1992, a decline of 82 percent;
- A total of 12 of the 1,053 homicides of school-age youth between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 occurred at school. During the same period, there were 8 suicides of school-age youth at school, compared with 1,645 total suicides of school-age youth that occurred in calendar year 2013; and
- During the 2014–15 school year, there were 1,500 reported firearm possession incidents at schools in the United States, and the rate of firearm possession incidents was 3 per 100,000 students.
- There were fluctuations, but no clear change, in the number of arrests for weapons possession on postsecondary campuses between 2001 and 2014; the number of arrests ranged from 1,000 to 1,300 each year during this time span; and
- Of the 804 total hate crimes reported on college campuses in 2014, the most common type of hate crime was intimidation (343 incidents), followed by destruction, damage, and vandalism (327 incidents), and simple assault (61 incidents). The two most frequent categories of motivating bias associated with these crimes were race and sexual orientation.