School crime

According to an FBI study, knives – not guns – are the most commonly used weapons in school crime.

The Crime in Schools and Colleges study, which gathered data from about a third of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, showed that the most commonly used weapon in more than 558,000 campus-related crimes over the five-year span was a knife — not counting fists and feet, which accounted for most of the incidents.

The article at the Washington Post is actually pretty interesting, and avoids hysterics pretty much entirely. I would be really interested to get my hands on a copy of the study and the raw data as well; there are some interesting statistical tidbits.

The largest group arrested for crimes at school for which age was known was 13- to 15-year-olds, accounting for 38 percent of those arrested… More than half of all campus crimes involved acquaintances.

I find the first statistic somewhat surprising, actually; as I would have assumed that the age group that contained the most arrests would have been 16-18 year olds.

Some questions that the study raises with me are how many of the arrests were made due to technical violations of a “Zero-tolerance” policy, i.e. brining a butter knife to school.

The other expected response will be for some group to ask for knife control – because obviously the problem isn’t overcrowded schools, or poverty, but the fact that kids can get knives.

Updated: To include a link to the FBI’s  Adobe file of the report here.  I’m going to take a look at this over the weekend and do a post on Monday.


  1. When I was in high school (late ’60s) we were actually issued knives in art class for craft projects. I got in minor trouble once for my response when another student made a threatening move with his. As for actual knife crime, the one serious stabbing took place in a girls’ washroom, and the weapon used was a fingernail file.

  2. When I was in grade school, late ’40s, early ’50s) we boy scouts and cub scouts openly carried knives as part of our uniform. The official scout web belt had a clip to accomodate the shackle of the official scout knife. I don’t recall any scout-related crime–if you discount a possibly pederastic scout master.

  3. …I would have assumed that the age group that contained the most arrests would have been 16-18 year olds

    By that age the trouble makers have quit or been kicked out.

  4. The Boston Globe did a story to the tune of “With stricter gun laws in place, Boston Criminals have turned to knives” And it showed knife crime being much higher than gun crime. Then they showed rates over the last few years. Knife crime has ALWAYS been higher. Love that Globe. I blogged about it a while back, but I can’t seem to find it now.

  5. Building on Rob K’s comment, the 16- to 18-year-olds who are still in the school are also much more mobile than the immediately younger cohort. They can generally GTFO whenever they want, where the younger teens are left walking, waiting for the bus, or whatever. They’re just around more than the older group.

  6. The thing is gun control is only about control and making the political ruling class safer. If total gun control is ever successful here, knives will be next, baseball bats, etc. and so on as has happened in the UK. England is a prophesy of what we can realistically expect if we lose this fight.

    I don’t notice that safety of the populace of the UK has been enhanced any, but it sure has benefitted the pols and their enforcers.

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