The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 9, 2013

Report looks at Alabama stats on school violence

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center released a special report Wednesday on school violence in Alabama during 2011.

The report includes the state’s statistical analysis of school violence reported to the state by Alabama law-enforcement agencies for the calendar year 2011.

The study included data reported by law-enforcement agencies about public and private schools (K-12, post-secondary, and colleges and universities). The report found that:

• School violence was indicated in 2 percent of all reported violent offenses and 3 percent of all reported simple assaults in Alabama in 2011.

• Of the reported offenses of school violence in 2011, 11percent were cleared by the arrest of a juvenile, 6 percent by the arrest of an adult, and 27 percent by exceptional clearance (lack of prosecution). Fifty-six percent of the offenses were not cleared.

• 53 percent of the victims of the reported school violence in Alabama during 2011 were female.  

• 49 percent of all these school violence victims were acquainted with their offender, and 31percent of the victims reported injuries.

• Juveniles made up 57 percent of the school violence victims, representing the largest number of school violence victims in the robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault categories. Of the juveniles, 42 percent were ages 13-17.

• Although 43 percent of school violence offenses occurred at an elementary or secondary school, only 15 percent of the victims were of elementary school age, while 42 percent of the victims were of middle-school or high-school age, which includes the age range 13-17 years.

• 22 percent of school violence offenses reported in Alabama during 2011 occurred at a college or university, with 16 percent of the victims being of college age (18-24). A total of 19 colleges and universities in Alabama submitted 2011 crime statistics for the uniform crime report.

• Hands, fists or feet were the weapons used in 90 percent of the school violence offenses.

The study

The report used uniform crime reporting data submitted by approximately 350 Alabama law-enforcement agencies. The report used data reviewed for the 2011 Crime in Alabama publication, which features a compilation of incident, offense and arrest data reported by county, municipal, university and state law enforcement agencies throughout Alabama for the previous calendar year.

The report also includes an overview of certain Part II crimes, as well as statistics regarding arrests and recovered property.

“We always caution citizens or the media against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between statistics submitted by cities or individual agencies, as there are unique conditions that affect each law enforcement jurisdiction,” said Maury Mitchell, ACJIC director.  “Valid assessments are only possible with careful study and analysis of the conditions that affect each law-enforcement jurisdiction.”

Alabama’s Uniform Crime Reporting program is administered by ACJIC Statistical Analysis Center to provide uniform crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The special School Violence in Alabama 2011 report was prepared by the ACJIC, the state agency responsible for gathering and providing critical information for Alabama’s law enforcement and the criminal justice community.

Full study

The full School Violence in Alabama 2011 is available online at http://www.acjic.alabama.gov/cia/2011_special_school_violence.pdf and the Crime in Alabama 2011 report can be obtained online ACJIC Crime Statistics page at http://www.acjic.alabama.gov/crime.cfm.