Indicators of School Crime and Safety


Liam Shephard

Series: Safety and Risk in Society
BISAC: SOC004000

Our nation’s schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community (Brookmeyer, Fanti, and Henrich 2006; Goldstein, Young, and Boyd 2008).
Establishing reliable indicators of the current state of school crime and safety across the nation and regularly updating and monitoring these indicators are important in ensuring the safety of our nation’s students. This is the aim of Indicators of School Crime and Safety.

The report included in this book is the seventeenth in a series of annual publications produced jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice. This report presents the most recent data available on school crime and student safety. The indicators in this report are based on information drawn from a variety of data sources, including national surveys of students, teachers, principals, and postsecondary institutions. Sources include results from the School-Associated Violent Deaths Study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Crime Victimization Survey and School Crime Supplement to that survey, sponsored by BJS and NCES, respectively; the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, sponsored by the CDC; the Schools and Staffing Survey and School Survey on Crime and Safety, both sponsored by NCES; the Supplementary Homicide Reports, sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; EDFacts, sponsored by NCES; and the Campus Safety and Security Survey, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The most recent data collection for each indicator varied by survey, from 2009 to 2013. Each data source has an independent sample design, data collection method, and questionnaire design, or is the result of a universe data collection. All comparisons described in this report are statistically significant at the .05 level. Additional information about methodology and the datasets analyzed in this report may be found in appendix A.

The report covers topics such as victimization, teacher injury, bullying and cyber-bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions. Indicators of crime and safety are compared across different population subgroups and over time. Data on crimes that occur away from school are offered as a point of comparison where available.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Executive Summary



List of Tables

List of Figures


Chapter 1. Violent Deaths

Indicator 1: Violent Deaths at School and Away From School

Nonfatal Student and Teacher Victimization

Indicator 2: Incidence of Victimization at School and Away From School

Indicator 3: Prevalence of Victimization at School

Indicator 4: Threats and Injuries With Weapons on School Property

Indicator 5: Teachers Threatened With Injury or Physically Attacked by Students

Chapter 2.School Environment

Indicator 6: Violent and Other Crime Incidents at Public Schools, and Those

Reported to the Police

Indicator 7: Discipline Problems Reported by Public Schools

Indicator 8: Students’ Reports of Gangs at School

Indicator 9: Students’ Reports of Illegal Drug Availability on School Property 40

Indicator 10: Students’ Reports of Being Called Plate-Related Words and Seeing

Hate-Related Graffiti

Indicator 11: Bullying at School and Cyber-Bullying Anywhere

Indicator 12: Teachers’ Reports on School Conditions

Chapter 3. Fights, Weapons, and Illegal Substances

Indicator 13: Physical Fights on School Property and Anywhere

Indicator 14: Students Carrying Weapons on School Property and Anywhere

and Students’ Access to Firearms

Indicator 15: Students’ Use of Alcohol on School Property and Anywhere

Indicator 16: Students’ Use of Marijuana on School Property and Anywhere

Chapter 4. Fear and Avoidance

Indicator 17: Students’ Perceptions of Personal Safety at School and Away From School

Indicator 18: Students’ Reports of Avoiding School Activities or Classes or Specific

Places in School

Chapter 5. Discipline, Safety, and Security Measures

Indicator 19: Serious Disciplinary Actions Taken by Public Schools

Indicator 20: Safety and Security Measures Taken by Schools

Indicator 21: Students’ Reports of Safety and Security Measures Observed at School

Chapter 6. Postsecondary Campus Safety and Security

Indicator 22: Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions

Indicator 23: Hate Crime Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions


Supplemental Tables

Appendix A: Technical Notes

Appendix B: Glossary of Terms

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