TBI study shows steady increase in school crime between 2015-17

JACKSON, Tenn —  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a new study, focusing on crime in Tennessee’s K-12 schools.

The report compiles three years of crime data submitted to the TBI.

There was one report that stood out among the others. Acts of violence in elementary and secondary schools showing a steady increase over the past three years. With a rise in crime, school resource officers are hard at work to decrease the numbers.

The TBI’s annual school crime study looks at the nature and volume of crime on school campuses. Simple assault was noted as the most common offense reported, accounting for 37 percent of overall offenses in 2017.

“That is not surprising to me,” Sgt. Bill Young with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office said. “Anecdotally I can say that in this unit, in this community, probably the most frequently reported offense.”

Although the study shows crime in schools is on the rise, Sgt. Young said you have to remember how the statistics are collected.

“Because it’s on paper going up, doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s been a great increase,” Sgt. Young explained. “It just may mean that these are actually now being counted.”

Over the study period, between 2015 to 2017, crime in Tennessee schools increased by 13.5 percent.

“Many of our assaults, this will surprise you is female and female,” Sgt. Young said. The study supports that statement listing females accounting for 52 percent of victims and male victims at nearly 47 percent.

“I was surprised by that just observation-ally seeing the number of female students fighting, I mean going at it hard,” Sgt. Young said.

While some believe cracking down on students and creating a stronger police presence will solve the crime issue, Sgt. Young says the answer to fixing the problem has many levels.

“It’s not simple to just say well we need to do A, B, and C,” Young said. “That may help the problem, but the problem goes much farther beyond that.”

He said the best solution is to find out the highest categories of offenses in your area and create a plan of action around your findings.

The TBI also reported September having the highest frequency of school crimes. Sergeant Young said there are several factors leading to that like warm weather, students re-adjusting to the school environment after summer break, and drama that manages to spill over into the school year.

To view the entire school crime study click here.