Schools Safer Today Than Before

December 10, 2013

Headline-grabbing school shootings might lead people to believe that schools have become more dangerous, but the statistics tell another story, says USA Today.

The Justice Department and the Department of Education recently issued findings that show that by nearly every measure, school safety has improved and violence has decreased:

  • The "victimization" rate (which includes violent crimes such as assault and rape, as well as non-violent crimes such as purse-snatching) has plummeted between 1992 and 2011, from 181.5 incidents per 1,000 students to 49.2 per 1,000 students.
  • Non-fatal victimizations have dropped a full 71 percent between 1992 and 2011, from 4.3 million to 1.2 million.
  • Homicides, suicides and deaths involving intervention by police at school or on the way to or from school dropped 46 percent, from 57 in the 1992-1993 school year to 31 in the 2010-2011 school year. Over 19 years, researchers counted 863 deaths, or about 45 per year. These statistics do not include the Sandy Hook shooting.

The drop in school violence is due, researchers say, to a focus on mental health and bullying, a greater awareness of a school's culture (including how well students get along with teachers and peers), and basic security steps (locking school doors, requiring visitors to check in, and offering ways for students to report threats anonymously).

Source: Greg Toppo, "Schools Safe as Ever Despite Spate of Shootings, Scares," USA Today, November 13, 2013.

 

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