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[whitespace] Local high school crime stats are lower than state averages

West Valley--Crime statistics for the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District for the 1997-1998 school year are all well below the statewide high school district average, according to a Safe Schools report released late last month.

According to district Superintendent Cynthia Ranii, the district's schools are very safe, and district officials are vigilant in maintaining safe campuses.

Since 1995, school districts are required to compile crime rates for drug and alcohol offenses, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, sex offenses, possession of a weapon, property crimes, and loss per student.

Ranii said the statistics are a good gauge for all districts in comparing crime. The district's results include its two schools plus its NOVA alternative program.

In the last school year, the LG-SJUHSD reported 7.12 drug and alcohol offenses per 1,000 students, compared to the statewide high school district average of 11.76. Ranii said this equals 18 total incidents.

An average of 1.98 cases or five incidents of battery and assault with a deadly weapon occurred. Ranii said that many of the assault with the deadly weapon reports were from students who were in possession of knives. None of the incidents led to injuries and all of the students were recommended for expulsion.

For the second year in a row, the district had no incidents of robbery, compared to the high school district statewide average of .23.

The district was also below the statewide average for possession of a weapon with .79 or 2 cases compared to 2.44 for high school districts statewide.

Property crimes, including stolen or damaged items, were also below the average at 2.37 incidents, or six cases. Ranii said that five of those cases involved theft of items such as bicycles and one was damage to someone's property. If the theft is major enough, Ranii said the student is recommended for expulsion.

In those thefts, the district lost only about 14 cents per student, or a total of $350. The high school statewide district average is $1.77 per student.
Michelle Alaimo

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Web extra to the March 11-17, 1999 issue of Metro.

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