Thursday, March 29, 2018

School Crime and Safety

Crime in the nation's schools and college campuses has declined overall during the past two decades, according to a report released today (March 29). The report also highlights new data on the presence of security staff at elementary and secondary schools as well as updated data on safety and security procedures at school and training for teachers.

The new report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2017, is the 20th 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 security staff at public elementary and secondary schools, teacher training on school safety and discipline, and an examination of the school environment from an international perspective.

The report shows that the percentage of public schools reporting the presence of security staff at least once a week was higher during the 2015–16 school year (57%) than during the 2005–06 school year (42%). During school year 2015–16, a higher percentage of secondary schools than of primary schools reported having security staff present at school at least once a week (72 vs. 45 percent).
The new report also shows that the percentage of public school teachers reporting that they had been physically attacked by a student from their school in 2015–16 (6 percent) was higher than in all previous survey years (around 4 percent in each survey year) except in 2011–12, when the percentage was not measurably different from that in 2015–16.

Other key findings include:

Crime and Discipline Incidents
  • In 2016, students ages 12–18 experienced 749,400 victimizations (theft and nonfatal violent victimization) at school and 601,300 victimizations away from school;
  • Seventy-nine percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place during the 2015–16 school year. During the same year, 47 percent of schools reported one or more crime incidents to the police. The percentages of public schools recording incidents of crime and reporting incidents to the police were lower in 2015–16 than in every prior survey year.
  • During the 2015–16 school year, 37 percent of public schools (31,100 schools) took at least one serious disciplinary action—including out-of-school suspensions lasting 5 days or more, removals with no services for the remainder of the school year, and transfers to specialized schools—for specific offenses.
Crime Prevention and Training
  • During the 2015–16 school year, about 76 percent of public schools reported providing training for classroom teachers or aides on recognizing physical, social, and verbal bullying behaviors, 48 percent reported providing training on recognizing early warning signs of student violent behavior, and 30 percent reported providing training on recognizing signs of students using/abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
  • The percentage of public schools reporting the use of security cameras increased from 19 percent in 1999–2000 to 81 percent in 2015–16. Similarly, the percentage of public schools reporting that they controlled access to school buildings increased from 75 percent to 94 percent during this period.
  • The percentage of public schools that had a plan in place for procedures to be performed in the event of a shooting increased over time, from 79 percent in 2003–04 to 92 percent in 2015–16.
Postsecondary Institutions
  • The number of on-campus crimes reported in 2015 was lower than the number reported in 2001 for every category except forcible sex offenses and murder. The number of reported forcible sex crimes on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 8,000 in 2015 (a 262 percent increase; and
  • Race, religion, and sexual orientation were the categories of motivating bias most frequently associated with the 860 hate crimes reported on college campuses in 2015.

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