Friday, January 11, 2013

Reported offenses down in the Guilford County Schools

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Released its Annual Consolidated Data Report for 2011-12 for school crime and violence, suspensions and expulsions, and dropout rates. Statewide, the reported number of criminal and violent acts decreased 4.3 percent from the previous year from 11,657 to 11,161. The offense rate (number of acts per 1000 students) fell 5 percent from 8.03 to 7.63.

In Guilford County, the decrease was even more pronounced with the number of reportable acts decreasing from either 693 or 700 (there's a minor discrepancy in the 2010-11 numbers) to 589. Figures for all reported offenses for the Guilford County Schools from the 2005-06 school year to 2011-12 are listed below.

Reported Offenses in the Guilford County Schools 2005-12
Source: NC DPI Annual Reports (various years).

As the figures show, the most serious criminal and violent acts--deaths, kidnappings, rapes, armed robberies, assaults with weapons or resulting in serious injuries--are very rare. Indeed, the GCS has had no reported deaths, rapes, or kidnappings over the period covered by the table. Most of the reported offenses are for possession of drugs, alcohol, and weapons (other than firearms).

There are also some discrepancies in reporting across years. Robberies without weapons have not been tracked in the last two years. Also, the numbers of assaults resulting in serious injuries have disappeared in the last two years while the numbers of sexual assaults have jumped. The big changes in these numbers suggest a difference in reporting standards.

The recent tragedy in Newton, CT has focused a lot of attention on violence in schools. We sometimes forget, however, how exceptional those events are and how safe schools are. Any violent acts are too many, and we should strive to make schools safer still.