School Zone

A Problem Analysis of Student Offending and Victimization

Pamela Wilcox, Graham C. Ousey, and Marie Skubak Tillyer
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2037-4
Publication: May 22

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-2036-7
Publication: May 22

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2038-1
Publication: May 22

242 pages
6 x 9
16 tables, 23 figures

Why some school environments are more conducive to crime than safety

Read the Introduction (PDF).


Schools should be safe—but they are not always safe for everybody. Authors Pamela Wilcox, Graham Ousey, and Marie Skubak Tillyer studied crime among students located across diverse middle- and high-school settings to investigate why some students engage in delinquency—but others do not—and why some students are more prone to victimization. School Zone focuses on the three key interactional elements—context, victims, and offenders—to understand and explain the impact of common crimes such as theft, weapon carrying, drug possession and the verbal, physical, and sexual harassment of classmates.

The authors also consider how individual students and schools respond to crime and threats. They analyze the variables that schools can control in planning and practice that explain why some schools have higher crime rates. School Zone uses empirical studies to provide a comprehensive understanding of the patterns and causes of variation in individual- and aggregate-level school-based offending and victimization experiences while also addressing the adequacy of wide-ranging criminological explanations and crime prevention policies.

In their conclusion, the authors assess the extent to which currently popular strategies of school crime prevention align with what they have discovered through their problem-analysis framework and scientific understandings of student offending and victimization.


“It is absolutely time for a new book that covers school crime alone. The problem analysis triangle and routine activities perspective used by the authors are valuable lenses through which to frame the entire synthesis. Moreover, their application of criminological theory to schools, along with the in-depth risk factors discussion and prevention-centered conclusion, is rich and constructive.”
Allison Ann Payne, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University

School Zone offers an important problem analysis approach to understand and address school crime by focusing on the situational convergence of offender motivation, vulnerable targets, and place. Wilcox, Ousey, and Tillyer’s situational problem analysis framework toward understanding and addressing school crime is accessible and applicable for those who are in the pursuit of ensuring safe schools. Considering the social and media fears surrounding school crime, the authors’ argument for an evidence-based method toward addressing school crime is convincing. Impressive for its comprehensive breadth and depth, School Zone is a must-read for students, scholars, practitioners, administrators, stakeholders, and policymakers alike.”
Anthony A. Peguero, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Arizona State University

Table of Contents


1. The School-Crime Connection: Variation across People, Places, and Time
2. Making Sense of School Crime: Key Perspectives
3. Measuring School Crime
4. Student Delinquency: The Motivated Offender
5. Student Victimization: The Suitable, Unguarded Target
6. Double Trouble: The Victim-Offender Overlap among Students
7. The School Environment: A Place for Crime
8. School Zone: Strategies in Search of Safety


About the Author(s)

Pamela Wilcox is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Pennsylvania State University. She is the coauthor of Criminal Circumstance: A Dynamic, Multicontextual Criminal Opportunity Theory and Communities and Crime: An Enduring American Challenge (Temple), and the coeditor of Challenging Criminological Theory: The Legacy of Ruth Rosner Kornhauser.

Graham C. Ousey is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at William & Mary.

Marie Skubak Tillyer is a Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio.