The Safe and Secure Campus

Annual School Crime and Safety Report

The annual indicators of School Crime and Safety report, co-produced by the American Institutes for Research (AIR, www.air.org), was released in early May by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report presents the most current data on crime and safety at schools and on college campuses from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals and postsecondary institutions.

New this year are two “spotlight indicators,” one on topics related to student suspension and expulsion and another on juvenile offenders in residential placement facilities. Among students entering the ninth grade in fall 2009, the report shows, about 19 percent had been suspended or expelled by spring 2012. The number of juvenile offenders housed in residential facilities went down by half between 1997 and 2013.

Additional topics covered include student and teacher victimization, crime at school, disciplinary actions taken by schools, school security measures and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions. Where available, data on crimes committed off school grounds are cited for comparison.

Annual School Crime and Safety Report

Key findings from this year’s report concerning higher ed include:

  • The number of reported forcible sex crimes on college campuses jumped by 126 percent between 2001 and 2013. During this same period, overall crimes reported by postsecondary institutions dropped 34 percent.
  • Arrests for drug law violations at postsecondary institutions increased by 70 percent between 2001 and 2013. In contrast, arrests for liquor law violations and illegal weapons possession were both lower in 2013 than in 2001.

In a blog post on the InformED Blog, the authors of the report, Anlan Zhang and Jizhi Zhang, observe that taking into account increases in full-time college enrollment, the report indicates that the rate of reported forcible sex offenses on college campuses increased from 1.9 per 10,000 students in 2001 to 3.3 per 10,000 students in 2013.

Overall, they report, arrests on college campuses increased between 2001 and 2013 (from 40,300 to 47,800). Most of the 47,800 arrests reported by institutions in 2013 were for liquor and drug law violations.

About 27,600 criminal incidents against persons and property were reported on college campuses in 2013. By type, burglaries, forcible sex offenses and motor vehicle theft topped the list of oncampus crimes reported.

Burglaries (15,500 incidents) constituted more than half of these incidents, followed by forcible sex offenses (5,000) and motor vehicle theft (3,000). The number of burglaries and motor vehicle theft were both lower in 2013 than in 2001 (15,500 vs. 26,900 for burglaries and 3,000 vs. 6,200 for motor vehicle theft).

Arrests for liquor law violations were lower in 2013 than in 2001 (26,600 vs. 27,400). But arrests for drug law violations increased by 70 percent, from 11,900 in 2001 to 20,100 in 2013. After taking into account increases in full-time college enrollment, arrests per 10,000 students for drug law violations increased from 10.2 to 13.4 between 2001 and 2013.

AIR experts took part in all aspects of the publication, including statistical analysis, writing, report design and quality control review. AIR has co-written the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports since 1999.

The full Indicators of School Crime and Safety report can be found on the National Center for Education Statistics website (nces.ed.gov/pubsearch).

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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