Federal Report Shows Drop in School Crimes

The report is the 18th in a series of annual school security publications created jointly by several government organizations.

The National Center for Education Statistics released a report that showed an overall decrease in crime at schools in the country.

There were significant decreases in instances of bullying, harassment because of sexual orientation and violent crime at all levels of education, although some cautioned the apparent progress isn’t enough.

“Our nation’s schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime or violence,” the report’s authors state. “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.”

The report used data from university annual crime reports, a variety of crime studies in the educational sector and student and teacher surveys. Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, says there may be flaws in the data collected, including the fact that K-12 schools aren’t mandated to report crimes, according to the Seattle Times.

“Federal and state stats underestimate the extent of school crime, public perception tends to overstate it and reality is somewhere in between,” Trump says.

The reported reduction in crime could be the result of added school security measures, like surveillance cameras (three quarters of schools reported using cameras in the 2013-2014 school year).

“School administrators are a lot more proactive about security than they were a decade ago,” Trump says.

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Trump also warned schools not to focus too much on the rare possibility of active shooters.

Some other findings in the report are listed below:

  • Higher education crimes decreased by eight percent in 2013 compared to the year before, although incidents of sexual assaults increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 5,000 in 2013.
  • There were 53 school-associated deaths between July 2012 and June 30, 2013
  • During the 2013-14 school year, there were 1.3 million reported discipline incidents in the United States for reasons related to alcohol, drugs, violence, or weapons possession that resulted in a student being removed from the education setting for at least an entire school day
  • In 2014, 850,100 students aged 12-18 were non-fatally victimized.

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