School Crime Did Not Rise in 2005

By Matthew Harwood

Schools were as safe in 2005 as they were in 2004, says the Department of Justice.

Violent and property crime rates at the nation schools during 2005—57 such crimes per 1,000 students age 12 or older—were statistically unchanged from the 2004 rate of 55 victimizations per 1,000 students, according to a new report by the Justice Department Bureau of JusticeStatistics (BJS) and the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The crimes measured are rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault and theft.

Older students, ages 15-18, were less likely to be victims of crime than their younger counterparts, ages 12-14, but were more likely to be victims of crime once off school property.

Fourteen students were murdered at school in 2005, yet school remained one of the safest places for children. Children, according to DOJ statistics, are 50 times more likely to be murdered off school property than on school property.

Other positive long-term trends were identified by DOJ as well.

Fear among students declined. Between 1995 and 2005, the number of students that said they avoid certain places at school dropped from 9 percent to 4 percent.

Students are also less likely to be carrying a gun around their school. Between 1993 and 2005, the percentage of students carrying a weapon to school in the last thirty days was cut in half, dropping from 12 percent to 6 percent.

However, some statistics should cause concern.

Gang activity increased as 24 percent of students reported the presence of gangs in their school in 2005 as opposed to 21 percent in 2003.

Students, ages 12-18, also reported being bullied. Twenty-eight percent of students said they had been bullied in the last six months. Of those bullied, 24 percent reported sustaining an injury due to the bullying.

The new statistics come from the report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007.



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