2009-07-03 / Top Stories

Violent Crimes Fall Nearly Ten Percent In Schools

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt today announced that crime has continued to drop in City public schools. Through May 3, there were 737 major felony crimes reported this school year, compared with 810 crimes during the same period last school year, a nine percent decrease in major felony crime.

Since the 2000-01 school year, the year before Mayor Bloomberg took office, major felony crime has dropped by 44 percent from a high of 1,310 incidents. Violent incidents also decreased, falling eight percent through May 3 of this school year and 32 percent since the same time period in 2000-01. Schools in the "Impact School" program have also experienced a precipitous drop in major felony crime. There were only 19 major crimes in the seven current Impact Schools through May 3 of this year, compared to 52 for the same time period in the schools' first years on the Impact list. The Mayor made the announcement at Truman High School in the Bronx and was joined by Principal Sana Nasser. The campus experienced a 33 percent drop in major crime so far this school year and an 85 percent drop over the course of the Administration.

"Safe learning environments are critical to student success, and that's why we continue to work hard to cut crime and violence in schools," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The NYPD, the Department of Education, and the Criminal Justice Coordinator have worked hard to support school communities and ensure that schools are a safe place for students. One crime in our public schools is still one too many, but it's fair to say that our school safety efforts are succeeding."

"Crime decline in the schools is in step with the City's continuing and historic drop in crime," said Police Commissioner Kelly. "Crime in all major categories is down again this year compared to last and down nearly 40 percent since Mayor Bloomberg took office. Murders, for example, are currently down 18 percent this year over last, and 13 percent lower than two years ago when we set the record for the fewest murders since comparable records were established 47 years ago. Keeping the schools safe has been an important ingredient in the overall improvement in public safety."

"We knew early on that we could not expect teachers to teach and children to learn if they didn't feel safe at school," Chancellor Klein said. "I am proud that we've made our schools safer—and it never could have happened without our strong partnership with the Police Department."

"Thanks to the collaboration between the Department of Education and the police, we have reduced the behaviors that disrupt our classrooms and hallways and prevent our students from concentrating and learning," said Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt. "We owe our students a safe and secure learning environment, and the data show that we are delivering it. The progress we have made in the last seven years is heartening."

"Our most fundamental priority is the safety and security of students and staff, and we're very encouraged by these statistics," said UFT President Randi Weingarten. "You cannot have an effective learning environment if kids or their teachers feel they are at risk, and a lot of work goes into preventing problems from arising. The UFT's health and safety teams are in schools every day, working with the NYPD and the DOE to address issues as they come up, and I want to thank everyone involved for their efforts."

"Over the years, our Principals and Assistant Principals have put tremendous energy into working effectively with the NYPD to keep our students and educators as safe as possible and we're all gratified that we're succeeding in improving their safety," said Ernest A. Logan, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. "As we continue to move towards a safer school environment, we must also move closer to a more humane environment. Principals must remain the leaders of their schools; collaboration between Principals and school safety officers must grow even stronger; and continued professional development in school safety regulations must be required on all sides. Then all our students will be allowed to flourish."

In 2004, the Administration launched the Impact School initiative to reduce school violence and disorder and create safer learning environments. Significant progress was made at the seven current Impact Schools this year. Beach Channel High School in Queens experienced a 50 percent decrease since 2007-08, when it was first added to the Impact list. Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn experienced a 67 percent decrease in major felony crimes, falling to 4 from 12 since it was added to the list in 2003-04.

For the seven schools and campuses currently in the Impact School initiative, major crimes are down by 63 percent and violent crime is down by 70 percent this school year compared with the first year the schools became Impact schools. The current Impact Schools include Beach Channel High School in Queens; IS 291, Canarsie High School Campus, Tilden High School Campus, Grand Street Educational Campus, and Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn; and John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx.

Impact Schools are selected through an evaluation of Police Department and Department of Education data. Indicators examined include the total number of criminal incidents at a school, the number of incidents involving violence, the number of major crimes, the number of incidents involving weapons or dangerous instruments, and a qualitative review of school conditions.

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