Crime in San Diego County Schools

Crime rates in schools are extremely low, on order 10% of the crime rate in non-school areas, and hence do not represent very much to worry about. If we could reduce the general crime rate to these levels, it would be billed as a major miracle. Nonetheless, here are the numbers.

Because the numbers are in general quite low, the statistical variance on the numbers is relatively high. In general, one would have to accumulate several years of data for the smaller districts in order to really make the case that one is significantly worse than another.

Absolute numbers of crimes, 1995-1996
District name Enrollment drug/ alcohol offenses battery assault with deadly weapon robbery/ extortion sex offense possession of weapon property crimes dollar loss to district
Bonsall Elementary1,310 111000121,194
Carlsbad Unified7,38434630022816,711
Encinitas Elementary4,9820000031513,266
Escondido Elementary17,051298710003223384,074
Escondido High7,279901823418154,565
Fallbrook Elementary5,80639000484,204
Fallbrook High2,46242401016950
Oceanside Unified19,48693941233263417,119
Poway Unified30,0437553781238857,148
Ramona Unified6,76420300011101,608
San Dieguito High8,063733323313125,842
San Marcos Unified10,9535824120101216,794
Valley Center Unified2,65773110441,058
Vista Unified24,0949054504366237,488
San Diego County438,1201,4981,11414095495251,976925,853

Crime Rates per 1,000, 1995-1996
District name Enrollment drug/ alcohol offenses battery assault with deadly weapon robbery/ extortion sex offense possession of weapon property crimes dollar loss to district
Bonsall Elementary1,310 1800012911
Carlsbad Unified7,38451000042,263
Encinitas Elementary4,98200000132,663
Escondido Elementary17,051251002144,931
Escondido High7,27912200122627
Fallbrook Elementary5,8061100011724
Fallbrook High2,46217200002386
Oceanside Unified19,4865510012878
Poway Unified30,04322000131,902
Ramona Unified6,7643000021237
San Dieguito High8,0639400021725
San Marcos Unified10,95352000111,533
Valley Center Unified2,6573100022398
Vista Unified24,09442000131,556
San Diego County438,12033000152,113

As can be seen in either table above, Fallbrook schools are among the lowest in every category except one: drug/alcohol offenses. District Superintendent Joe DeDiminicantanio said this was due to having more security guards to catch the offenders.

"One of the reasons I think our figure is as high as it is, is because we have 6 full-time security guards on this campus...I don't think other districts have close to that," he said. "What we have here is a higher incident of apprehended offenders."

He said a survey of the 42 offenses committed last year revealed there was only one repeat offender, and that most students were using drugs as opposed to alcohol, and marijuana seemed to be the drug of choice.

One other item is the high rate of batteries in Bonsall, which is indeed significantly higher than the average. Superintendent Kim Marshall said the incidents occurred at Sullivan Middle School. He said the school has improved its discipline policies, and the number of suspensions at the school has sharply declined since a new principal took over.

Source for the above: NCT 2/27/97, A1, A7.

In the subsequent several years, vandalism has become more of a problem for the Fallbrook Elementary School District. FUESD had the second-worst per-pupil loss in 1997-98, $4.60 per pupil. In 1996-97, the per-pupil loss was an astronomical $8.87. Among the incidents in January, March and April 1999 at Potter Junior High:

for a total loss of $6,500 for those incidents. The total in 1997-98 was 14 incidents resulting in $26,662 in damage, including $3,000 of damage to Fallbrook Street School's roofs by skateboarders in February 1998.

In the vast scale of things, this is pretty minor, but it is upsetting to a number of people. Video cameras may be installed, and officials are considering hiring security guards. However, the cost of security guards would be much larger than the vandalism total, so it does not make economic sense. But it would be nice to catch the vandals.

Source for recent info: NCT 5/9/99, B1, B5.

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Copyright © 1997-1999 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 9 May 1999.