Violent crime against students in schools fell by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002, with young people more often targeted for violence away from school, says a new federal report. The Associated Press says the study by the Education and Justice Departments says there were about 24 crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault for every 1,000 students in 2002, down from 48 per 1,000 a decade earlier.
School violence involving students have dropped steadily since a string of fatal shootings in the 1990s, notably the 1999 killings of 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado by two students. “There has been a drop, and we attribute a lot of that to the fact that schools are focusing on the issue more,” said William Lassiter of the Center for the Prevention of School Violence in Raleigh, N.C. Schools have taken steps ranging from installing metal detectors and hiring more security personnel to starting programs aimed at curbing bullying, which can lead to more serious crimes. In 2002, there were about 659,000 violent crimes involving students at school and about 720,000 away from school property. “Our report shows that kids are safer at school than they are away from school,” said the report’s co-author, Katrina Baum of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.