School crime is down slightly, agencies claim

By Greg Toppo

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Students are feeling safer at school but still feel threatened by weapons, a new government report says.

The annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety, released Wednesday, showed that most types of school crime dropped slightly between 1995 and 1999, with the proportion of students saying they were victims of crimes dropping to one in 12.

But the report, issued by the Education and Justice departments, showed that the percentage of students who say they were threatened with a weapon at school stayed about the same.

The report said the percentage of students 12 and older who said they were victims of thefts, assaults or threats at school dropped from 10 percent in 1995 to 8 percent in 1999. The largest drop came for students in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. Figures for 11th-graders were unchanged, at 7 percent.

The percentage of students who reported street gangs in their school fell by nearly half, from 29 percent in 1995 to 17 percent in 1999. Also, fewer students said they feared being attacked or hurt at school, and fewer said they avoided places on campus because they considered them unsafe.

But the percentage of high school students who said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon in 1999 — 8 percent — was the same as in 1995. The percentage of high school students who said they had carried a weapon at school in the past 30 days dropped from 10 percent in 1995 to 7 percent in 1999.

Thirty percent of students said drugs were available on campus — 2 percent fewer than in 1995.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said he was encouraged by the figures but said more needs to be done.

Sandra Feldman, president of the American Federation of Teachers, also welcomed the report. "It’s heartening in these difficult times to know that school continues to be a safe place for kids," she said. "The improvement in school safety reflects the hard work of teachers and other school employees."

Ken Trump, a Cleveland school safety consultant, agreed that school officials have been doing a better job in recent years of balancing prevention programs and crime intervention. But he said the dropping crime statistics may not be entirely accurate, a notion supported recently by a school police officers’ group.

An Oct. 5 survey by the National Association of School Resource Officers found that 84 percent of officers said crime on campus is underreported to police.

Curt Lavarello, the group’s executive director, said principals are often pressured to minimize crime statistics at their schools. As a result, he said, they often refer to assaults simply as fights or thefts as missing property — even when $150,000 worth of equipment disappears.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Herald publisher Rudi Alcott
A note from the publisher

The Daily Herald publisher Rudi Alcott discusses our new publishing schedule and newspaper delivery by mail.

Locals from the group Safe Lynnwood gather in front of the Ryann Building on 196th Street SW to protest the opening of a methadone clinic in the building on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Despite controversy, Lynnwood opioid treatment center opens its doors

For weeks, protesters have objected to the center opening near Little League fields and a Boys and Girls Club.

CEO Amy King standing outside of a Pallet shelter. (Courtesy of Pallet)
After rapid rise, Everett’s Pallet hits milestone: 100 shelter villages

Temporary home manufacturer Pallet hires locals who have “experienced homelessness, substance abuse or the justice system.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Boil water advisory in effect for 75 Snohomish homes

A water main break resulted in outages and possible contamination Sunday. Service was expected to return by Wednesday.

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez speaks at his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Driver in fatal I-5 crash in Arlington gets 10 years

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez had a lengthy history with impaired driving. He pleaded guilty to killing Jason Vogan, 45.

The building at 307 Olympic Avenue, seen on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, is home to the office of Omni-Mana Services in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Charges: Arlington drug trafficker masqueraded as a pastor

Prosecutors say Steve Parker led a double life, helping people in addiction while dealing drugs across Western Washington.

Most Read