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Preventing school violence: assessing armed guardians, school policy, and context

Charles Crawford (Sociology Department, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA)
Ronald Burns (Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




Recent highly publicized acts of violence and shootings on campus have prompted numerous crime prevention suggestions including having an armed presence in the schools. The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of protective measures, policies, and school/neighborhood characteristics on school violence.


The data used in this study were part of the School Survey on Crime and Safety collected in 2006. The dependent measures of school violence include reports of violence, threatened attack with a weapon, attack with weapon, and gun possession. The sample was divided into high schools and all other grades to consider differences in levels of school violence among grade levels in relation to various law enforcement security measures, school security measures, and school characteristics.


Findings revealed mixed and often counterproductive results for law enforcement and school security efforts to control school violence. School characteristics, such as reports of bullying, location, and gang activity yielded numerous statistically significant findings. Policy recommendations and suggestions for future research are provided.


This study differs from much of the previous literature, which typically examines student and administrator attitudes about victimization and crime prevention. The current study examines detailed information on the actual effects of school violence prevention efforts. Furthermore, this study moves beyond most other works (that typically focus on high schools) as it considers school safety approaches by different grade levels.



Crawford, C. and Burns, R. (2015), "Preventing school violence: assessing armed guardians, school policy, and context", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 631-647.



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