U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Students' Reports of School Crime: 1989 and 1995

U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Education

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 6:30 P.M. EDT                 BJS
SUNDAY APRIL 12, 1998                                        

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There was no significant change
from 1989 to 1995 in the percentage of students who reported 
having been robbed in school, having property stolen from
their lockers or desks or experiencing  physical attacks at
school, according to a joint study announced today by the
Justice Department and the Education Department.  In 1995,
the study showed that 14.6 percent of students aged 12
through 19 reported violent or property victimization at
school, compared to 14.5 percent in 1989. 
     There was, however, an increase in the percent of
students in 1995 likely to be victimized by a violent crime--
a physical attack or a robbery by force, weapons or
threats--compared to 1989.  In 1995, 4.2 percent of all 12-
to 19-year-old students experienced a violent crime,
compared to 3.4 percent six years earlier.
     The data, from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
and the National Center for Education Statistics  (NCES),
also found that fewer than one in 1,000  students reported
taking a gun to school in 1995, but about one in 20 students
said they saw another student with a gun at school.  
     In 1995, the study showed that 12.4 percent of the
students who saw another student with a gun at school said
they were a victim of a violent crime at school, compared to
3.8 percent of those who had not.
     Violent victimization was also reported to be
associated with the presence of street gangs.  In 1995, 7.5
percent of all students who reported gangs in their schools
said they had been a violent crime victim at school,
compared to 2.7 percent of students who reported no gangs.
     Students reporting street gangs in their schools rose
from 15 percent in 1989 to 28 percent in 1995.  In 1995 half
of the Hispanic students aged 12 through 19 reported gangs
in their schools, compared to 35 percent of the black
students and 23 percent of the white students.  Thirty-one
percent of the public school students and 7 percent of the
private school students said there were gangs in their
     In both 1989 and 1995 male students were more likely
to experience violent victimization than were their female
counterparts.  While about 5 percent of male students
reported experiencing a violent crime in both 1989 and 1995,
the percentage of female students reporting violence rose
from 2.0 percent to 3.3 percent.
     In 1995, as in 1989,  most students reported that
drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, 
crack or uppers/downers, were available to some degree at
school.  The percentage of students who reported the
availability of drugs in 1995 was 65.3 percent, slightly
higher than the 63.2 percent reported in 1989.  Students in
higher grades were more likely than those in lower grades to
report that these drugs were available.  
     For the study, "school" included areas in school
buildings, on school grounds or on school buses.
     The study, "Students' Reports of School Crime: 1989
and 1995" (NCES 98-241 and NCJ-169607) was written by
Kathryn A. Chandler and Chris Chapman of NCES and Michael R.
Rand and Bruce M. Taylor of BJS.  Single copies may be
obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing
301/519-5550, listening to the menu, and selecting document
numbers 107 through 110,  by calling the BJS Clearinghouse
at 1-800/732-3277 or by calling the National 
Library of Education at 1-800/424-1616.
     The report can also be download from:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ or from http://nces.ed.gov
     Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained
from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at:
     The Department of Education's media contact is David
Thomas at 202/401-1579

After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354 
Date Published: April 12, 1998