American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 570–588 | Cite as

Students and Perceived School Safety: The Impact of School Security Measures

  • Suzanne E. Perumean-ChaneyEmail author
  • Lindsay M. Sutton


Although secondary school violence has actually decreased, public concern over student safety is still prevalent. One response to publicized school violence has been the implementation of security measures (metal detectors, cameras) and policies (visitor sign in, locked doors). While these changes may decrease school violence, little research has examined the effect these security measures have on student perceptions of school safety. Utilizing the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth), this study found that metal detectors and the number of visible security measures employed in school were associated with a decrease in student reports of feeling safe. Students who were male, White, had higher GPAs, and reported feeling safe in their neighborhood were more likely to report feeling safe at school, while those who experienced prior victimizations, had larger class sizes, and who attended schools that had disorder problems were more likely to report not feeling safe at school.


School safety School security measures AddHealth Student perceptions 



This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis. The authors would like to thank Lynn Addington, John Sloan III, Heith Copes, and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne E. Perumean-Chaney
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lindsay M. Sutton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Justice SciencesUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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