School Crime Control and Prevention
150 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 25, 2009
School violence, drug use, vandalism, gang activity, bullying, and theft are costly and interfere with academic achievement. In this review, we consider those school characteristics that influence concurrent levels of crime, victimization, violence, and substance use both in and out of schools. We begin with a review of the statistics on crime in school and youth crime more generally, documenting trends and patterns using a variety of data sources (which unfortunately tend to give different answers). Section II makes the case that crime in school is not simply the sum of criminal propensities of the enrolled students; that the organizational characteristics of the school have considerable influence. Sections III through V consider just what aspects of school organization or "climate" matter, including such factors as school size and composition of the student body, school discipline and delinquency prevention curricula, and culture. Section VI discusses next steps in research and policy. Given the limitations of the evidence base, we are more confident in making recommendations about research priorities than about effective policy. The place to begin the research agenda is with a close look at the quality of the data in current use: different data sets yield wildly disparate results for no obvious reason. We also have several recommendations to guide evaluation research on interventions, beginning with a recommendation that evaluation be built into the policy design and adoption process.
Keywords: school, crime, crime control, survey data
JEL Classification: I21, I28, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation