Magazine article Insight on the News

Schools Report Decrease in Serious Crime

Magazine article Insight on the News

Schools Report Decrease in Serious Crime

Article excerpt

Shootouts at schools, including the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., have galvanized public action about school violence, says Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center (NSSC) in Westlake Village, Calif. In recent years, 20 states have passed laws asking schools to develop safety plans, and 4,500 peace officers have been added to schools around the nation.

Whether these efforts have been the cause or other factors are responsible, the nation's schools indeed are safer, according to a new report based on seven years of data from the federal government. In 1992, 3.4 million crimes were reported at schools. By 1998, that number had fallen to 2.7 million crimes.

Serious crimes at school also fell, from 306,700 incidents in 1992 to 253,000 in 1998. The 1999-2000 school year saw 15 school-associated deaths, according to the NSSC. which offers data on its Website, www.nssc1.org. No students have died during the current school year.

The government report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2000, is the third of its kind. The numbers come from different time periods but are the most recent available, notes Department of Justice spokesman Mike Planty. …

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