Details of the state’s fourth school crime report
Findings of the California Safe Schools Assessment for the 1998-99 school year:
– The rate for crimes against persons – including battery, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and extortion, murders and sex offences – increased from 3.74 incidents per 1,000 students in 1997-98 to 4.02 in 1998-99, a seven percent increase.
– Battery as usual had the highest number of incidents, 19,128, and the highest rate with 3.28 per 1,000 students, a 9 percent increase over the year before when the rate was 3.
– Sex offenses increased by 17 percent from 930 to 1,090.
– Bomb threats increased 135 percent from the previous year to 548. The majority of those were pranks, with 70 pecent occurring in the weeks following the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado last spring.
– Drug and alcohol offenses increased 11 percent, from 3.55 incidents per 1,000 students to 3.94. Possession of paraphernalia increased 73 percent because of a new requirement including marijuana devices in the count.
– Possession of alcohol increased 73 percent from 0.18 incidents per 1,000 students to 0.24. Sale and-or furnishing of drugs and alcohol jumped 62 percent from 0.13 incidents to 0.21.
– Drug and alcohol offenses were 44 percent of total incidents in high schools and had the highest high school rate of 11.68 incidents per 1,000 students.
– There were two murders during 1998-99, the stabbing death of 17-year-old Adam Smith at Burbank High School in July 1998 and the shooting of 17-year-old Vuthana Sieng at El Modena High School in Orange in November 1998.
– Confiscation of guns decreased from 647 to 637 and included 35 shotguns, 369 handguns and 233 other guns.
– The number of knives increased for the second year by 5 percent from 5,862 to 6,168. Of those, 535 were used in crimes and the rest were found on someone on campus.
– Of known suspects, 81 percent were male and 92 percent were students at the school.
– The dollar loss to districts from property crimes such as vandalism, graffiti and arson rose from $16.75 million to $25 million. Most of that increase was in arsons, which cost $10 million. The most expensive was a $3 million fire set by two junior high students at Lee Vining High School in Mono County in September 1968.
Source: California Safe Schools Assessment 1998-99
The report is available on the Internet at