FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR KLEIN AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY ANNOUNCE A NEW SCHOOL SAFETY INITIATIVE AMID SIGNIFICANT DECLINES IN CRIME IN CITY IMPACT SCHOOLS
Launch of Mobile “Unannounced” Scanning Program Increases Breadth and Depth of School Safety Initiatives Citywide
New Statistics Show Significant Gains in Safety Among City Impact Schools and Substantial Decreases in Serious Crimes Systemwide
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced new school safety statistics that show significant gains in school safety Citywide. In the City’s Impact Schools, statistics show a 59% decrease in major crime, a 43% decrease in violent crime and a 33% decrease in overall crime. As a result, four schools will transition out of the Impact Schools program and two schools will be added – bringing the total number of Impact Schools to nine. In addition, schools previously removed from Impact status continue to show dramatic improvements in school safety. In schools citywide, major crime declined by 9% and violent crime dropped by 11% according to data for the 2005-06 school year through April 2. Since the 2003-04 school year, when the Impact program began, major crime in schools citywide has dropped 12%, violent crime has dropped 27% and total crime has dropped 7%. The Mayor also announced today the launch of a new school safety initiative that will bring mobile scanners to middle and high schools this spring to ensure that dangerous weapons are not brought into schools. The program will enable school safety officers to travel unannounced to schools across the City to scan for weapons. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt, Commanding Officer of the School Safety Division Assistant Chief Gerald Nelson, NYPD Community Affairs Bureau Chief Douglas Zeigler and Senior Counselor for School Intervention and Development Rose Albanese-DePinto for the announcement at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.
“Creating great schools also means providing a safe environment for learning,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The Impact schools initiative has worked and crime continues to decline at these schools even after being removed from the Impact list. Now we’ll build on what works. New and innovative safety initiatives like our mobile scanning program will send the message that attempts to bring weapons into our schools will not be tolerated and serve as a system wide deterrent to bringing contraband into schools. We won’t allow a few people to destroy educational opportunities for others.”
“Today’s news sends a powerful message to parents, students and staff that our efforts to make schools safer are succeeding,” Chancellor Klein said. “The citywide rates are clearly moving in the right direction and the Impact initiative is proving that even schools with long histories of disorder and crime can be turned around. Our continuing priority to provide every child with a secure place to learn will translate into rising achievement and a richer school experience.”
“Police officers and school safety agents both are to be commended for helping to improve safety in and outside of schools throughout the city,” said Commissioner Kelly.
Mobile Scanning Program
While overall incidents involving both weapons and dangerous instruments have fallen 4% so far this year, the number of illegal weapons confiscated has increased 5%. For that reason, programs to ensure that weapons do not get past the school door must not only be continued but strengthened. To further that goal, as part of the City’s School Safety Initiative, a mobile scanning program will be implemented in middle schools and high schools across the City by April 26. On random days, students at these schools will be asked to go through metal scanning machines similar to the ones used to screen airline passengers. These scanning devices can detect weapons and dangerous instruments such as firearms, knives and box cutters. These mobile scanning devices, deployed by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), will be temporarily installed in schools throughout the city without prior announcement. The unpredictable deployment of these scanning devices serves as a powerful deterrent to people who might carry illegal weapons into City schools.
In the last school year, close to 40% of all weapons and dangerous instruments were discovered through scanning. Currently, 21% of high schools and middle schools have scanning capacity. This year, the number of scanning schools in the city has already increased 4%, from 79 to 82. Citywide this year, schools have confiscated 307 weapons (20 of which were guns) - up 5% from last year - and 1,355 dangerous instruments - down 6% compared to last year.
Posters informing students and the public of this process will be provided to all middle and high schools and prominently displayed inside the student and visitor entrance at all times. In addition, principals will send letters to all parents announcing this new policy. On the days that unannounced scanning is being implemented at a particular school, signs announcing the presence of scanning teams will be prominently posted outside of the school.
“Even as crime continues to fall throughout our school system, we cannot and will not rest on our laurels,” said John Feinblatt. “When it comes to weapons, even one is too many. Thanks to the Mayor’s new scanning program, students who are thinking about bringing a weapon to school will have to think twice.”
Citywide Decline in School Crime
Through April 2, the number of major crimes in City schools fell 9% compared to last year with substantial declines in felony assault (down 21%) and robbery (down 11%). Overall violent crime fell 11%, driven not only by the decline in robbery and felony assault, but also by reductions in misdemeanor assault (down 7%) and sex offenses (down 22%). Although total crime this year is down by less than 1%, criminal mischief increased 56% largely due to a citywide crackdown on graffiti. Excluding the spike in criminal mischief, total crime citywide would be down 5%. At the start of the 2005-06 school year, the City increased the number of School Safety Agents (SSA) by 200 bringing the total number of SSA’s to 4,625.
Impact Schools Initiative
On April 24, four schools demonstrating significant declines in crime and disorderly conditions will be transitioned out of Impact status including CIS 22, and Lafayette, John Bowne, and Abraham Lincoln high schools. As a group, these four schools saw a 61% drop in total crime, a 72% decline in violent crime and an 82% reduction in major crime. At these schools, robbery fell 96% (from 26 to 1); felony assault fell 73% (from 11 to 3); and misdemeanor assault dropped 57% (from 42 to 18). CIS 22 has been an Impact school since January 2004 and the other three schools joined Impact in January 2005.
Two schools that stand to benefit from the Impact initiative will be transitioned into the program after the conclusion of spring break. These schools include John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx and Newtown High School in Queens. These schools were selected based on a thorough analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data from the NYPD and DOE. These schools represent less than 0.2% of the total number of public schools yet account for 3% of major crime, 2% of violent crime and 2% of total crime. Compared to last year, total crime at these schools through April 2nd has increased 50%, violent crime has increased 185% and major crime has increased 167%. The addition of these schools will bring the total number of Impact schools down to nine – down from a peak of 16 in the first year and from 11 schools since the start of this school year. This is the lowest number of Impact schools since the initiative began in January 2004.
Since the School Safety Initiative began, a total of 22 schools have been designated as Impact schools and 11 of them – 10 high schools and one middle school – have been stabilized and removed from the Impact list. Since being removed from Impact status, these schools as a group have experienced a continuing decline in crime. At the schools that were transitioned off the Impact list in the 2004-05 school year, total crime so far this year dropped 25%; violent crime dropped 36%: and major crime dropped 54% – even after substantial declines last year.
The Impact School initiative also focuses on intensifying enforcement against low-level crime and disorder, rigorously enforcing the New York City Discipline Code and correcting school conditions conducive to disorder. Extra SSA’s and Police Officers from the 200-member mobile School Safety Task Force are assigned to Impact Schools. A zero-tolerance policy for infractions listed in the New York City Discipline Code is also employed at all Impact Schools. All infractions are met with graduated responses ranging from peer mediation and negotiation, conflict resolution, and anti-bullying awareness, up to suspensions at the Principal’s and Superintendent’s level. Students that commit the most serious infractions are immediately removed from these schools pending the outcome of their hearings.
School safety experts from DOE and NYPD conduct thorough inspections of key conditions and procedures at all Impact schools. Using a “best practices” checklist, intervention teams focus on more than 100 variables including entry and exit procedures, hallway conditions, Discipline Code enforcement, instructional environment, passing between classes, cafeteria environment, facilities, and detention and suspension rooms. Based upon their comprehensive assessment, the teams make additional recommendations for improvement. In an effort to sustain and fortify gains, DOE and NYPD continue to provide ongoing training, support and technical assistance.
Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Dept. of Education)
Paul Browne (Police Department)
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