The Bureau of Justice Statistics, working with the National Center for Education Statistics, released a report on “Indicators of School Crime and Safety” last month. The report provides summary statistics about different aspects of crime and safety in schools, drawing information from several sources. Through the many statistics shared in the report, it was easy to see a sad reality. While several crime and safety issues at schools have improved over the years, the rate of school shootings has steadily increased.

The report shows that there were 93 school shootings with casualties in the United States during the 2020–2021 school year. (There were an additional 53 school shootings in 2020–21 that are not reflected in any of the figures within the report since these events did not result in any casualties.) And while the numbers from the 2020–21 school year represent a sharp increase from the previous year’s 78, it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. The data shows us that the number of school shootings has been steadily increasing year after year for the last five years. Another troubling revelation that was highlighted in the report was that, for the first time in history, most of the school shootings in 2020–21 occurred in elementary and middle schools rather than high schools, as had been the case in previous years.

However, not all the statistics included in the Indicators of Crime and Safety report are bleak. The report also showed that sexual assault and bullying were down by a considerable margin, (though self-harm and suicide rates remain relatively high) and does a good job of highlighting the additional safety and security measures that have been put in place by many school officials to deal with rising threats.

Recent Improvements

The report leverages survey results from the “School Survey on Crime and Safety” (SSOCS), which collects data on school safety and security practices contributed by public school principals. The data shows that many schools have implemented additional technology as a preventative safety measure, with the deployment of security cameras to monitor buildings being cited by 97% of schools, a significant increase from 61% ten years ago. School administrations have also increased the breadth of their written plans and procedures, with more than 96% reporting that they have written plans and procedures in place in the event of an active shooter. When asked about conducting drills with students during the school year, 98% of schools indicated that they had conducted lockdown procedure drills with students, 94% on evacuation procedures, and 92% on shelter-in-place procedures.

The report does not explore the adoption or the impact of other types of technologies that have been introduced in recent years, such as Caliber’s FirstAlert or other “panic button” solutions on the market, which can be used to notify public safety officials of critical events in near real-time to encourage a faster response. However, these solutions can complement and enhance survivability when integrated as part of a comprehensive emergency preparation plan.

Learn More

The study in its entirety can be downloaded from the Bureau of Justice Statistics website here:

To discuss how Caliber FirstAlert can be part of your emergency preparation plan, contact us today.