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School Survey on Crime and Safety


The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) is a sample survey of the nation's public schools designed to provide estimates of school crime, discipline, disorder, programs and policies. SSOCS is administered to public primary, middle, high, and combined school principals in the spring of even-numbered school years. Over 3,000 public school principals are selected to receive the SSOCS questionnaire. The SSOCS sample is large enough to provide national estimates of all public schools, while taking into account a number of factors, including the level of instruction, student enrollment size, and urbanicity.

Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
Data Years Available: 
2000, 2004, 2006, 2008
Biennial since 2004
Mode of Collection: 
Sample survey: Mailed questionnaire
Selected Content: 
Topics covered include: school practices and programs, parent and community involvement at school, school security, staff training, limitations on crime prevention, frequency of crime and violence at school, incidents reported to police or law enforcement, hate crimes and gang-related crimes, disciplinary problems and actions, and other school characteristics related to school crime.
Population Covered: 
Public primary, middle, and high schools in the U.S.

School principals from a nationally representative stratified random sample of U.S. public schools, including public charter schools but excluding special education schools, vocational schools and alternative schools, home schools, ungraded schools, overseas Department of Defense schools, schools sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education, and schools in the U.S. outlying areas and Puerto Rico, respond to a mailed questionnaire.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

In school year 2007-08, a total of 2560 public schools submitted usable questionnaires, including 618 primary schools, 897 middle schools, 936 high schools, and 109 combined schools. A larger percent of the target sample was allocated to middle and high schools.

Interpretation Issues: