By this government estimate, 879,800 violent crimes committed at U.S. public schools in the 2009-2010 school year were not reported to police.
These statistics are part of a report—“Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011”—published jointly on Feb. 22 by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
As defined by the report, “violent crimes” included rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
The Department of Education and the Department of Justice based their school-crime estimates on the School Survey on Crime and Safety which surveyed a representative sample of about 2,600 public schools around the country.
At each school, the principal or another top administrator completed the survey. The NCES then extrapolated from the sample to estimate the full number of crimes committed at the nation’s public schools--as well as the full number of crimes committed at public schools that were actually reported to the police. The survey specifically asked school administrators about both the number of crimes occurring at their schools during the year and the number actually reported to police.
The definition of “at school” in the survey included “activities that happen in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that hold school-sponsored events or activities.” The crimes in question could have “occurred before, during, or after normal school hours, or when school activities or events were in session.”
Overall, as reported in Table 6.1 of the report, 1,876,900 crimes of various types were committed at public schools in 2009-2010, but only 689,100 of these crimes were reported to the police.
Of the 1,876,900 crimes committed at public schools, 1,183,700 were violent crimes--and of these 1,183,700 violent crimes only 303,900 were reported to police.
While 73.8 percent of the nation’s public schools were the scene of a violent crime or crimes during the 2009-2010 school year, only about 39.9 percent of the public schools actually reported a violent crime to the police.
Many of the violent crimes that occurred at public schools were classified as physical attacks or fights without a weapon (there were 725,300 of these of which 194,200 were reported to the police) or threats of a physical attack without a weapon (there were 405,900 of these of which 86,200 were reported to the police).
However, even what the report called “serious violent incidents” that occurred at schools—which were defined as rape or attempted rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, robbery with a weapon, and robbery without a weapon—often were not reported to the police.
Of the 52,500 “serious violent incidents” the study estimated occurred at public schools in 2009-2010, only 23,500 were reported to police.
According to the report, an estimated 600 rapes occurred at public schools, but only about 500 rapes were reported to the police. About 3,600 sexual batteries other than rape occurred at public schools, but only but only about 2,200 were reported to the police. About 14,300 physical attacks or fights with a weapon occurred, but only about 4,400 were reported to police. About 19,200 threats of a physical attack with a weapon occurred, but only about 7,400 were reported to police.