Crime, Peer pressure, Public schools, School police, Students' attitudes
The purpose of this study was to examine student perceptions of the deterrent effect of School Resource Officers on crimes that may occur on school campuses and the factors that may influence those perceptions. The first school resource officer (SRO) program was implemented in 1953 and gained popularity in the 1990s. This study (conducted in 2008) reveals that the majority of students perceive that school resource officers are a deterrent to specific crimes and the overall crime rate on school campuses. The results of the survey indicated that the crimes of rape (74.1%), homicide (73.7%), aggravated assault or threat with a weapon (70.5%), sexual assault (67.0%), robbery (64.9%), and weapon possession (68.4%) had the highest percentage of students who responded agree (strongly agree or agree) that the school resource officer was a perceived deterrent to those crimes on the school campus. The incident with the lowest perceived deterrent effect was truancy with 48.9% of the students responding with strongly agree or agree. Based on a multivariate analysis, this study found that the factors that influenced the students' perceptions of the School Resource Officer as a deterrent to crime were students' age, class standing, school attended, exposure to a SRO, friends' crime history, and family crime history. The students' race, past crimes, income level, and gender were not statistically significant for any of the dependent variables. The examination of the ordinal logistic regression showed the percentage of variance the model explained was low. Based on this research with the limitations presented, the SRO is perceived as a deterrent to crime on school campuses. The deterrent effect was not stronger in any one demographic group. Peer pressure was one factor that was an influence in the majority of studied crimes.
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Watkins, R. Cory
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Rhinehart, David A., "The School Resource Officer in Public Schools: Perceived Deterrent Effect on Campus Crime" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6639.