2022 School Crime Data: Report on Indicators of School Crimes and Safety
Here’s a brief overview of the latest U.S. school and college crime trends, according to a new report from several federal agencies.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences, and Department of Education have released the Report on Indicators of School Crimes and Safety: 2022, which provides official estimates of school crime and safety from a variety of data sources, including national surveys of students, teachers, principals, and post-secondary institutions.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the highlights of the report.
Between the 2000–2001 and 2020–2021 school years, the number of school shootings with casualties ranged from 11 to 93 per year. On average, the number of shootings with casualties in a given year differed from the prior year by about 47% in either direction, with no consistent trend throughout the period. In 2021–2022, the number of school shootings with casualties (188) was more than twice as high as the next highest number of documented shootings (93), which was documented the year before. The report noted, however, that because the number of school shootings in 2021–2022 is an outlier compared to prior years, readers should interpret the data with caution.
With regard to active shooter incidents at schools, from 2000 to 2021, at elementary and secondary schools, there were:
- 46 active shooter incidents
- 0 to 6 active shooter incidents per year
- 276 casualties (108 killed and 168 wounded) as a result of active shooter incidents
- 0 to 81 casualties per year from active shooter incidents.
From 2000 to 2021, there were 47 active shooters responsible for the 46 incidents at elementary and secondary schools. Of the 47 active shooters:
- 46 were male and 1 was female
- 34 were 12 to 18 years old
- Five were 19 to 24 years old
- Eight were 25 years old or older.
Other Crimes on K-12 Campuses
The research found that for students ages 12–18, the rate of nonfatal criminal victimization (including theft and violent victimization) at school in 2019 was not significantly different than the rate in 2010. From 2019 to 2021, the rate at school decreased from 30 to 7 victimizations per 1,000 students.
Lower percentages of public school teachers in 2020–2021 than in 2011–2012 reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school (6% vs. 10%) and being physically attacked by a student from their school (4% vs. 6%).
The studies also found that higher percentages of public schools in 2019–2020 than in 2009–2010 reported problems with student cyberbullying (16% vs. 8%) at least once a week.
Additionally, lower percentages of students in grades 9–12 in 2019 than in 2009 reported the following issues:
- Having been in a physical fight on school property in the previous 12 months (8% vs. 11%)
- Carrying a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days (3% vs. 6%)
- Using alcohol on at least one day during the previous 30 days (29% vs. 42%).
However, the percentages of students in grades 9–12 who reported the following issues in 2019 were not measurably different from 2009:
- Being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months (7% in 2019)
- Being offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property in the previous 12 months (22% in 2019)
- Using marijuana at least one time during the previous 30 days (22% in 2019).
Some aspects of the school environment showed improvements over time. For instance:
- A lower percentage of public schools in 2019–2020 than in 2009–2010 recorded one or more incidents of crime (77% vs. 85%).
- Lower percentages of public schools in 2019–2020 than in 2009–2010 reported student behaviors at school that targeted fellow students, including student bullying at least once a week (15% vs. 23%) and sexual harassment of other students at least once a week (2% vs. 3%).
- Lower percentages of students ages 12–18 in 2019 than in 2009 reported the following unfavorable conditions at their school: gang presence (9% vs. 20%), being called hate-related words (7% vs. 9%), and seeing hate-related graffiti (23% vs. 29%).
- A lower percentage of public school teachers in 2020–2021 than in 2011–2012 agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching (32% vs. 41%).
However, other aspects did not improve. A higher percentage of students in 2019 than in 2009 reported avoiding one or more places in school during the school year because they thought someone might attack or harm them (5% vs. 4%).
K-12 Campus Security and Safety Upgrades
More schools also appear to be implementing more safety and security measures and offering mental health services.
- The percentage of public schools that reported having one or more security staff present at school at least once a week increased from 43% in 2009–2010 to 65% in 2019–2020
- More public schools in 2019–2020 than in 2017–2018 reported having a written plan for procedures to be performed in the event of a pandemic disease (52% vs. 46%).
- Higher percentages of public schools in 2019–2020 than in 2017–2018 reported providing diagnostic mental health assessment services to evaluate students for mental health disorders (55% vs. 51%) and offering mental health treatment services to students for mental health disorders (42% vs. 38%).
In contrast, a lower percentage of public schools reported taking at least one serious disciplinary action in 2019–2020 than in 2009–2010 (35% vs. 39%).
Additionally, schools are embracing technology to address their safety and security needs. Between 2009–2010 and 2019–2020, the percentage of public schools reporting the following safety and security measures increased:
- Controlling access to school buildings (from 92% to 97%)
- Using security cameras (from 61% to 91%)
- Requiring faculty and staff to wear badges or picture IDs (from 63% to 77%).
Crime Trends on College Campuses
Similar to the trend observed for the elementary and secondary level, crimes were generally less prevalent in 2020 than a decade earlier at the postsecondary level.
- The overall rate of crimes reported on campuses of postsecondary institutions per 10,000 FTE students enrolled in 2020 (15.0) was 20% lower than in 2019 (18.8) and 28% lower than in 2010 (20.9).
- The number of reported on-campus hate crimes in 2020 (571 incidents) was 25% lower than in 2019 (759 incidents) and 38% lower than in 2010 (928 incidents). Race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity were the three most frequently reported categories of bias motivating these hate crimes.
However, the rate of forcible sex offenses generally increased between 2010 and 2020 (from 1.9 to 6.6 per 10,000 students), although more recently, the rate decreased between 2019 and 2020 (from 8.1 to 6.6 per 10,000 students).
From 2000 to 2021, there were 18 active shooter incidents documented at postsecondary institutions, with the annual number ranging from 0 to 2. These incidents resulted in 157 casualties (75 killed and 82 wounded).53 Nineteen active shooters were responsible for these 18 incidents; 2 shooters were 12 to 18 years old, 6 were 19 to 24 years old, and 11 were 25 years old and above.
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