Many types of crime happen in and around school zones. We compiled data from crimes committed within a 300- to 2,000-foot radius (depending on the city) of public and private educational institutions to determine the cities with the most crimes reported around their schools and the types of infractions that are recorded just steps away from students. Continue reading to see what we uncovered about crime in areas around American schools.
Crime Around School Zones in New York City
The Big Apple may be one of the most visited cities in the world, but for the people who live there, crime is as much of a reality as tourism. In 2015, there were nearly 180,000 crimes across the five boroughs of New York City. The data examined showed the unfortunate reality that a portion of these crimes took place within the zones of educational institutions.
Of these school locations, Parsons The New School of Design’s Sheila C. Johnson Design Center topped New York City’s list of crimes within school zones with roughly 2,000 records in 2016. Parsons – a fashion, art, and design school – is located in lower Manhattan and has just over 10,000 students registered. The New York Film Academy, which has additional campuses in Los Angeles and around the world, had almost 1,100 recorded incidents of nearby crime in 2016.
Other areas noted for crimes adjacent to New York City schools included the M408 Professional Performing Arts High School, which serves children in grades six through 12. In 2016, it had over 1,000 recorded crimes occurring within a 1,000-foot radius of the campus.
Crime Around School Zones in Seattle
Seattle, Washington, earned a crime index of 3 (out of 100 – with 100 being safest), according to Neighborhood Scout.
Areas surrounding many Seattle schools also experienced considerable rates of crime, particularly around the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The zone around the school, which facilitates student camps and community programs, had over 3,000 crimes in 2016. The facility was sadly the target of a violent shooting – injuring five women and killing one – in 2006.
Seattle Central College School of Opticianry had over 1,900 crimes within a 1,000-foot radius of the campus, and the zone around the middle school campus for Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences had over 1,600 reported incidents of crime in 2016.
Crime Around School Zones in Los Angeles
In LA – with the crime rate rising by over 6 percent between the summers of 2015 and 2016 – the estimated 256 crimes per square mile in Los Angeles were nearly triple the number of crimes per square mile in California as a whole.
Zones around Los Angeles schools also had some significant rates of crime. Hollywood High School in the northern part of Los Angeles had over 1,000 recorded violations within a 1,000-foot radius of the campus in 2016. L.A. Barber College had over 900 records, and Augustus F. Hawkins High School had more than 660 records in the nearby vicinity.
Golden Gate University, John C. Fremont High School, and Virgil Middle School each had over 460 individual incidents of crime within their respective zones.
Crime Around School Zones in Baton Rouge
Rated as safer than only 4 percent of U.S. cities, there are over 56 crimes for every 1,000 residents in Baton Rouge annually.
Crime also occurs near a number of Baton Rouge schools. The area within a 2,000-foot radius of the Louisiana School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired – which serves students between the ages of 3 and 21 free of charge – had almost 1,700 incidents of crime in 2016.
St. James Episcopal Day School had over 800 records of crime within its zone, and three other schools had 600 or more in the surrounding vicinity. La Belle Aire Elementary School (766), Martin L. King Jr. Christian Academy (659), and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School (615) were each situated among the top 10 school zones with reported crime in Baton Rouge.
Crime Around School Zones in Boston
James P. Timilty Middle School, located near Boston University, has seen more than 280 crimes committed since 2015 within a 300-foot radius of the school.
Many of the noted school zones in Boston had over 200 records of crime between 2015 and 2017. Codman Academy Charter School (230), Holy Name Parish School (217), and Jeremiah E. Burke High School (211) were some of those housed among Boston’s top 10 school zones with the most crime.
The Most Common Crimes in New York City School Zones
Many areas of crimes in New York City were located near private schools rather than public schools.
The school zone surrounding Parsons The New School of Design’s Sheila C. Johnson Design Center ranked No. 1 for assault, robbery or theft, and drugs or alcohol. The zone around Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel had the most recorded firearm- or weapon-related crimes.
The zone around St. Charles Borromeo School was among the top three for both assault-related crimes and those associated with drugs or alcohol, while the area in and around P.S. 192 Jacob H. Schiff had some of the most drug- and alcohol-related crimes, as well as robbery and theft.
The Most Common Crimes in Seattle School Zones
In Seattle, the zone within a 1,000-foot radius of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle had the highest number of crimes related to assault, robbery or theft, and drugs or alcohol. It ranked second for recorded offenses related to firearms and weapons. While it had less overall crimes in 2015, the zone around the Seattle Central College School of Opticianry had the second most number of crimes behind the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and the highest in recorded incidents involving a weapon or firearm.
The area near and around the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences also ranked among the top five areas for three of the four crime categories studied, and the vicinity around O’Dea High School and Interagency Academy at the University District Youth Center were both listed in two categories.
The Most Common Crimes in LA School Zones
The zones surrounding L.A. Barber College and Hollywood High School in LA had the most recorded crimes related to assault and robbery or theft. The area within a 1,000-foot radius of Augustus F. Hawkins High School was also listed in each of these categories but also landed on the top five for firearm- or weapon-related crimes where L.A. Barber College fell as well.
The school zone surrounding John C. Fremont High School had the most firearm- or weapon-related crimes in 2016, followed by the 1,000-foot radius around Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary School, which educates children through fifth grade .
The Most Common Crimes in Baton Rouge School Zones
The area within a 2,000-foot radius of Martin L. King Jr. Christian Academy saw the most assault-related crimes. The Sacred Heart of Jesus School and Louisiana School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired were also listed in this category due to school zone crimes.
The school zone around the Louisiana School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired also had the most crimes recorded for robbery or theft, while the vicinity around St. Francis Xavier Catholic School had the highest number of crimes related to drugs or alcohol. The area around Polk Elementary School also had some of the highest rates of offenses related to drugs or alcohol, as well as weapons.
The area surrounding La Belle Aire Elementary School, which serves children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, had the highest number of recorded crimes related to firearms or weapons.
The Most Common Crimes in Boston School Zones
In Boston, the school zone around James P. Timilty Middle School had the highest rate of crimes related to assault, while the zone around Holy Name Parish School had the highest crime rates for drugs or alcohol and firearms or weapons. The latter – like many other schools researched – services children through sixth grade. Areas around Boston College High School, Snowden International School, and Joseph Lee School were also rated for assault.
For this project, we collected data from http://us-city.census.okfn.org/, which compiles government data in one location. We picked five popular cities that provided granular geolocated crime data. As an example, Los Angeles crime data from 2012 to 2016 can be directly found here.
The Cities: We looked at Boston, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle, and their available 2016 crime data. Boston crime data came from 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The Schools: Public and private school locations were collected from the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data. Note some schools may not be included in this project if they are missing from this database or appear in a newer data set. It’s worth noting that while Parsons The New School of Design’s Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is located in a zone with a fair amount of crime, Parsons The New School of Design in its entirety does not necessarily follow suit.
The Crime Zones: We crossed geolocated crime data with schools, looking at which schools had the most crimes in various radii surrounding each campus, defined by The Sentencing Project.
The Crimes: Crimes and the wording of crimes sometimes vary from city to city. When grouping crimes for the individual breakdowns, we searched the “crime description” category for keywords like “assault,” “weapon,” or “robbery.” This allowed us to group crimes by type. In some cases, cities may have missing crime data due to reporting.
For example, Los Angeles’s data states: “This is the combined raw crime data for 2012 through 2016. Please note that it is missing a few weeks in both December 2015 and December 2016. LAPD is currently working on filling in these gaps and increasing the update frequency for crime data.”
The Ranking: Each school on our list was verified as of April 2017.
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