Indicators of School Crime and Safety fell 50% between 1992 and 2002
November 30, 2004
The excerpt below is from the November 30, 2004 issue of the Boston Globe summarizing the report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics
"Violent crime against students in schools fell by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002, with young people more often targeted away from school.
There were about 24 crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault for every 1,000 students in 2002, down from 48 per 1,000 a decade earlier, according to a report yesterday from the Education and Justice departments.
The reduction mirrored the trend found outside classrooms; overall crime is at a 30-year low across the nation.
The report found instances of school violence involving students have dropped steadily since a string of fatal shootings in the 1990s, notably the 1999 killings of 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado by two heavily armed students.
"There has been a drop, and we attribute a lot of that to the fact that schools are focusing on the issue more," said William Lassiter, school safety specialist at the Center for the Prevention of School Violence in Raleigh, N.C.
Schools have taken a number of steps, from installing metal detectors and hiring more security to implementing programs aimed at curbing bullying, which can lead to more serious crimes.
In 2002, there were about 659,000 violent crimes involving students at school and about 720,000 away from school property. For the most serious nonfatal violent crimes -- rape, assault, and robbery -- the crime rates were lower in school than away every year from 1992 to 2002.
The report also found that between 1992 and 2000, students between 5 and 19 were 70 times more likely to be murdered away from school than on campus. There were 234 homicides at school during that time span, compared with more than 24,000 away from school.
"There was initially great concern about school violence, but our report shows that kids are safer at school than they are away from school," said the report's coauthor, Katrina Baum of the Bureau of Justice Statistics."