It’s back to school this week for students across the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the data show that campuses have actually become safer than they were a few years ago.
We examined reports of crimes that were committed at high, middle and elementary schools within the City of Los Angeles from Jan. 1 2010, when the LAPD starting making its crime data publicly available.
During the 2018-19 school year, 2,014 crimes were reported at schools in the city, a 10.1% decrease from the 2017-18 school year. When compared with the 2010-11 school year, the drop is even more pronounced, at 25.8%.
However, overall enrollment for LAUSD students has also been steadily decreasing over the last nine years. This year, the district projects enrollment to be 557,560, a drop of 12.4% from the 2010-11 school year.
During the last school year (2018-19), crimes at high schools accounted for 45.6% of the total, followed by middle schools with 28.4% and elementary schools with 26.0%.
We looked at crimes that the Los Angeles Police Department labeled as occurring at “high school,” “junior high school” and “elementary school.” We did not include crimes that occurred at “private/preschool.” In addition, the data only includes LAUSD schools in the City of Los Angeles.
Crimes that happen at schools are only a small fraction of all crimes reported in the city. Out of over two million crimes reported between Jan. 1, 2010 and July 31, 2019, only 1.37% were at schools. In addition, reported crimes are only one measure of assessing safety at schools, and the LAPD data do not take into account other issues that may create challenges for students, such as bullying, fighting or drug use.
Of all the victims of crimes in the City of Los Angeles from Jan. 1, 2010 – to July 31, 2019, 450,210 were under the age of 18. There were 18,530 underage victims at schools, making up 4.12% of the total victims under the age of 18.
The five most common types of crimes at schools during the 2018-19 school year were:
Battery — simple assault: 62
Child abuse: 26
Junior High/Middle Schools:
Battery — simple assault: 122
Criminal threats: 52
Battery — simple assault: 165
Criminal threats: 89
Battery with sexual contact: 58
Below is the list of LAUSD schools that had the most reports of crime within the 2018-19 school year (Aug. 14 2018 – June 7, 2019).
How we did it: We examined LAPD publicly available data on reports of crimes that had School premise codes “High School,” “Junior High/Middle School” and “Elementary.” Each school year is defined by dates on the LAUSD school calendar. The Los Angeles School Police Department oversees the investigation of crimes that happen at all LAUSD schools and submit their reports to the LAPD for crimes that occur at schools located in the City of Los Angeles.
LAPD data only reflect crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. On occasion, LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.
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