Crime and violence in Union County Public Schools decreased overall last year according to new state numbers, despite a jump in crime at Sun Valley High School and a few other campuses.
The recent 2011-12 Consolidated Data Report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction showed crime and violence at UCPS’ campuses decreased from 8.76 acts per 1,000 students in 2010-11 to 8.47 acts in 2011-12.
Crime and violence is classified on school campuses under 16 different offenses, ranging from illegal possession of controlled substances or alcohol to weapons, assaults, rape and homicide.
Jarrod McCraw, UCPS safety and security director, said the decrease in UCPS is due in part to district officials working closely with school administration and law enforcement officials to ensure students know expectations and codes of conduct at the schools.
“We also look at our statistics and look at our areas of improvement to see why those areas had decreases,” McCraw said.
McCraw said UCPS reported the most crimes last year under possession of controlled substances. The district has several drug prevention and education programs such as presentations for elementary school students on prevention and required education and support classes for students who were caught with drugs at school.
Last year, UCPS reported 132 acts of possession of controlled substances, down from 2010-11’s reported 142 acts of possession of controlled substances.
“I think the diligence of our administrators, our law enforcement officials and these programs have helped us see a decrease,” McCraw said.
But despite district averages, Sun Valley High saw an increase in crime and violence at the school in 2011-12, with 25 acts, up from 10 in 2010-11. Fourteen of last year’s acts were filed under possession of controlled substances.
un Valley High Principal Janice Burns said though the school saw an increase last year, her staff is working to better educate students on the dangers of drug use.
“We’re just being visible throughout the school, and I’ll give a lot of credit to the students who just will not tolerate it,” Burns said. “We’re educating the students and helping them understand it’s not good for them … educating them and helping them understand what it does to the family, community.”
Although Sun Valley had the largest increase, other schools like Weddington High School also saw a small increase. Parkwood High School saw a significant decrease, with 20 acts of crime or violence in 2011-12, down from 31 acts in 2010-11.