March 8, 2021 12:07

Decreases In School Crime Are Concurrent With Increases In Police School Resource Officers

Highlights

Although most schools report at least one incident of violent crime per year, the trends for violent crime and serious violent crime in schools have been decreasing.

About 1% of students surveyed reported experiencing a violent victimization.

One indicator has been increasing: multiple-victim associated deaths at schools.

Decreases in school crime are concurrent with increases in police school resource officers.

Article

The findings from the most recent overview of school crime are consistent with previous reports.

“What Do the Data Reveal About Violence in Schools?” is a product of the National Institute of Justice of the US Department of Justice. It can be found at School Violence.

Data on crime in schools comes from multiple sources, not unlike general crime statistics that comes from two sources within the US Department of Justice and private organizations like Gallup and academic studies, Crime in The US.

Department of Justice Report (direct but rearranged quotes)

A review of the most widely used and well-known data sources reveals that incidents of multiple-victim youth homicides in schools started declining in 1994 but have been increasing since 2009.

Thus, the public’s perception that there is an increased likelihood of a school shooting is grounded in an increase in multiple-victim, school-associated deaths.

Despite this increase, however, the rates of violent victimization and serious violent victimization at school are low and have been decreasing since the 1990s.

School Police Resource Officers

The following comes from my observations and not from the federal report.

In the late 1990s, SRO presence on campuses increased after the Department of Justice created a $750 million grant program, Cops in School to hire over 6,500 SROs, Wikipedia.

It’s interesting that the widespread increase of police officers in schools coincided with “Between 2001 and 2017, the percentage of students who reported being victimized at school during the six months prior to survey completion decreased for both violent victimizations (from 2% to 1%) and serious violent victimizations (from 1% to less than 0.5%).” There is less crime in schools, fewer serious crimes, and a decrease in student fear of being harmed.

Correlation does not equal causation and there is intense criticism of cops in schools from some quarters. Regardless, there is research indicating that police presence and tactics can lower crime and fear, Police Strategies.

Concurrently, crime decreased throughout the country during the measurement period except for 2015-forward. Violent crimes started increasing in 2015, Crime in the US.

The School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

According to the latest SCS data collected in 2017, being the victim of a violent crime at school is rare. About 1% of students surveyed reported experiencing a violent victimization in the six months prior to survey completion and less than 0.5% reported a serious violent victimization.

Serious violent victimizations include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent victimizations include all of the serious violent victimizations as well as simple assault.

Between 2001 and 2017, the percentage of students who reported being victimized at school during the six months prior to survey completion decreased for both violent victimizations (from 2% to 1%) and serious violent victimizations (from 1% to less than 0.5%).

Bullying is also a serious concern in schools. Bullying can be verbal (being threatened, called names, or insulted) and physical (being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on). Bullying may occur in various ways, including in person and virtually through social media.

We know that some school shooters felt bullied, victimized, persecuted, or injured by others prior to their attacks.

In some instances, the attacker experienced bullying that was long-standing and severe. According to the SCS, about 5% of students surveyed in 2017 reported being subject to this physical bullying behavior.

Students’ fear of being harmed has also decreased in the past few decades. The SCS asks students about their perceptions of safety and fear of attack at school during the school year. Between 2001 and 2017, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school decreased overall (from 6% to 4%).

Although most schools report at least one incident of violent crime per year, the trends for violent crime and serious violent crime in schools have been decreasing.

The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS)

According to the latest available SSOCS data, 71% of schools reported at least one incident of a violent crime during the 2017-2018 school year.

This number seems to be decreasing — 66% of public schools recorded physical attacks or fights without a weapon in 2017-2018 compared with 71% in 2009-2010.

When serious violent crime is examined as a subset of violent crime, approximately 21% of schools reported at least one serious violent incident at school in 2017-2018.

The SSOCS also asks principals about bullying. In 2009-2010, approximately 30% of schools reported incidents of bullying in the past week.

However, in the 2017-2018 survey, only about 14% of schools reported incidents of bullying in the past week.

School-Associated Violent Death Surveillance System

The trends from July 1994 through June 2016 indicate that on average, school-associated violent deaths accounted for less than 3% of all youth homicides in the United States consistently throughout this time frame.

The most recent SAVD-SS data cover the period from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. During this period, there were 38 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths in the United States; 30 of these were homicides, seven were suicides, and one death resulted from legal intervention.

During this same period, there were 1,478 youth homicides and 1,941 youth suicides in the United States.

There are differences between single-victim homicide trends and multiple-victim homicide trends.

From 1994 to 2016, there were approximately 423 school-associated homicide incidents, including 393 single-victim incidents and about 30 multiple-victim incidents.

According to SAVD-SS data, approximately 90% of school-related youth homicide incidents involve a single victim, which is contrary to the perception that most school-related youth homicides occur in the context of a mass shooting.

Among homicides with known motives, gang-related activity (58.2%) and interpersonal disputes (44%) were the most common motives for single-victim, school-related homicides, suggesting that these homicides may reflect broader communitywide causes of violence.

The proportion of single-victim, school-related homicides hovers around or below 2% of all youth homicides occurring from 1994 to 2016.

The SAVD-SS provides evidence of an increase in the number of multiple-victim homicides in recent years.

The homicides associated with multiple-victim incidents increased from June 2009 through the 2017-2018 school year.

Although likely related to only eight specific incidents occurring on or after July 2016, this increase has no clear explanations.

Conclusions

In the midst of these trends pointing to decreases in violent crime, serious violent crime, and bullying in schools, one indicator has been increasing: multiple-victim associated deaths at schools.

Single-victim homicide rates have remained relatively stable over time.

However, multiple-victim homicide incidents are increasing, and we do not know why.

See More

See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.

Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.

US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.

National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.

The Crime in America.Net RSS feed (https://crimeinamerica.net/?feed=rss2) provides subscribers with a means to stay informed about the latest news, publications, and other announcements from the site.

Contact

Contact us at leonardsipes@gmail.com.


My book based on thirty-five years of criminal justice public relations,” Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization” available at Amazon

 Reviews are appreciated

 

Author information

Leonard Sipes

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. – Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Former Adjunct Associate Professor of criminology and public affairs-University of Maryland, University College. Former advisor to presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Former advisor to the “McGruff-Take a Bite Out of Crime” national media campaign. Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University. Aspiring drummer.

Contact: leonardsipes@gmail.com.

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