Overall criminal activity reported at elementary and secondary schools in Tennessee has declined 2.3 percent from 2007-2009, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation study released Wednesday.
The comprehensive school crime report is based on numbers reported by law enforcement agencies across the state between 2007 and 2009. It shows a total of 2.2 percent (about 13,000 incidents) of statewide offenses during that time took place in school with the highest number, 13,989, coming in 2007.
Despite the overall decline, the number of violent crimes appears to be on the rise. Increases were reported in forcible rapes (20 in 2007 to 35 in 2009) and forcible fondling (225 in 2007 to 276 in 2009). The number of stalking and simple assaults also increased.
Simple assault cases made up the most frequently reported offenses with 54 percent of the offenders being male. In about 50 percent of those crimes the offender and victim were acquaintances.
It appears anti-bullying campaigns may be working as the number of intimidation cases declined dramatically over the three-year period. In 2007, there were 1,061 cases reported. That number dropped to 923 in 2008 and 858 in 2009.
The latest TBI report, which includes exhaustive breakdowns by year, month, day and hour of incident; age of the offender and victim; and gender and race of offender and victim, is the agency’s second focused on school crime this year. An earlier study focused on colleges and universities.