Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) have released Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021. This report is the 24th in a series of annual publications that covers a variety of crime and safety issues at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools in the U.S. Highlighted topics include different types of student victimization such as violent crime and school shootings, and school conditions such as discipline problems, gangs, and illegal drugs. The report also analyzes data gathered on teachers who have reported being threatened or attacked by students.

Although nonfatal criminal victimization has decreased at elementary and secondary schools over the last decade, school shootings with casualties between 2020-21 were the highest they’ve been since 2000-01. Cyberbullying and verbal abuse of teachers has also been steadily increasing. To maintain discipline and promote campus safety, public schools have increased physical security significantly between 2009–10 and 2019–20. Measures include controlling access to buildings, security cameras, faculty IDs, and weekly security staff. Additionally, in 2019-20 access to mental health assessments were available at 55% of public schools and treatment services offered at 42%.

At the postsecondary level, forcible sex offenses, hate crimes, burglaries, and motor vehicle theft were among the most common on-campus crimes in 2019. There were a total of 27,300 reported criminal incidents on postsecondary campuses, translating to 18.7 crimes reported per 10,000 full-time-equivalent students.

The NCES and BJS emphasizes the importance of gathering accurate data for school crime indicators. The goal will continue to be informing policymakers of the scope of the problem in order to create programs that reduce violence and crime on school campuses.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus on School Violence, and additional topics related to school crime.

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