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Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2004

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EST Bureau of Justice Statistics
MONDAY, November 29, 2004 Contact: Stu Smith 202/307-0784
  After hours: 301-983-9354


Washington - Crime in the nation's schools continued to fall between 1992 and 2002, reflecting the decline in the national crime rate, according to the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). During these years, school crime dropped from 48 violent victimizations per 1,000 students to 24 per 1,000. Between 1995 and 2003, the percentage of students who reported being a victim of a crime of violence or theft at school also declined, from 10 percent to 5 percent. In 2002, as in previous years, students from 12-18 years of age were more likely to be victims of nonfatal serious violent crime away from school than at school.

The joint report also provides new data on nonfatal student victimization, nonfatal victimization of teachers, students' perceptions of personal safety, gangs, students' reports of being bullied, avoiding places in school, being called hateful names or seeing hate-related graffiti, and students' reports of being threatened or injured with a weapon, being in fights, carrying weapons at school, using alcohol and marijuana and drug availability on school property.

Data obtained from students during 2002 show about 659,000 violent crimes involving student victims while at school and about 720,000 violent crimes committed against students away from school property. In addition, students nationwide experienced approximately 1.1 million thefts at school and about 790,000 thefts away from school. For the most serious violent crimes, rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault, the rates per 1,000 students were lower at school than away from school in each survey year from 1992 to 2002.

In 2003, about 7 percent of public and private school students ages 12-18 reported that they had been bullied at school within the past 6 months. Students attending schools in rural areas (10 percent) and those attending public schools (7 percent) reported higher rates of bullying at school than their peers in urban and suburban areas (7 percent) and in private schools (5 percent).

Among high school students in grades 9-12, the percentage reporting having been in a fight on school property declined between 1993 and 2003 from 16 percent to 13 percent. In 2003, about 9 percent of  9th-12th grade students reported being threatened with injury or having suffered an injury from a weapon while at school. Twelve percent of male students and 6 percent of female students reported experiencing a threat or injury in that year.

This is the seventh in a series of annual reports from the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. The report is organized as a series of indicators, with each indicator presenting data on a different aspect of school crime and safety. Time periods reflected in the indicators vary because the report contains the most recent crime and safety data available from a number of separate federally-funded studies.

The report, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2004" (NCJ 205290), was written by BJS statistician Katrina Baum and J.F. DeVoe, K. Peter, P. Kaufman, A. Miller, M. Noonan and T.D. Snyder of the National Center for Education Statistics staff. Following publication, this document can be accessed at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=988

Additional information about Bureau of Justice Statistics statistical reports and programs is available from the BJS website at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

OJP provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed program and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

Date Published: November 29, 2004