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Violence survey results

This fall we asked our readers to share their experiences with violence in their neighborhoods and at school. Here are the answers from the more than 1,000 teens who responded (thank you very much for helping us out). We randomly chose three people to win $100 for participating. Congratulations to: Ernesto Tapia of Van Nuys MS, Joshua Uyeda of Shery HS (Torrance) and Jose Quiros of Foshay Learning Center. Note: Some percentages do not add up to 100 because respondents skipped a question or checked all the answers that applied.

46% Male     54% Female

8% White     12% Black
54% Latino     7% Asian
26% Other


Have you ever seen or experienced violence in your community?
Yes 89%        No 11%

If you answered yes, what types of violence have you seen
or experienced in your community?

Gang tagging 68%
Someone being jumped 66%
Someone being threatened 59%
Theft 45%
Shootings 42%
Drive-by shootings 31%
Other 14%

How often do you see or experience violence in your community?

Hardly ever
A few times a week
Once a month
Once a week
Every day

How has violence in your community affected your actions?

When I go out I look around for people who might cause trouble 41%
I don’t go out after dark 37%
I’m unable to go where I want 29%
I go directly home after school 25%
I haven’t changed my behavior because I feel safe 25%
Other 14%
I’ve gotten involved in illegal activities 11%

How has violence in your community made you feel?

I worry about my friends and family members 56%
I worry about my future 35%
It doesn’t affect me 28%
The littlest things get me angry 17%
I want to fight other people when they make me angry 17%
I have trouble concentrating at school 11%

How do you feel about violence in your community?

I wish there was less violence but it could be worse 47%
It’s ruining my community 38%
There’s nothing anyone can do to reduce it 22%
My community feels safe 18%
There are times when someone deserves it 15%
Other 7%


Do you feel safe going to and coming from school?
Yes 75%        No 25%

Do you feel safe at school?
Yes 76%         No 24%

If you answered no, why don’t you feel safe?

Gangs on campus 49%
Racial fights 44%
Violence in the surrounding neighborhood spills into the school 39%
Bullies 39%
Students bringing weapons onto campus 39%
Gang tagging 34%
There are not enough security guards  23%
Other   20%
Students making Internet threats against other students or the school 19%

How often do you see or experience a conflict such as
fights, riots or someone making threats, at your school?

Hardly ever 30%
A few times a week 23%
Once a month 18%
Once a week 12%
Every day 11%
Never 7%

How does your school respond to situations involving violence?

Students don’t feel safe reporting violence
Security is effective 41%
There aren’t enough security guards to control things 24%
Teachers and staff take too long to respond 22%
The security guards don’t do anything 9%

What do you think would help teens be safe in their neighborhood?

More adults involved in teens’ lives 45%
More after-school activities 45%
More places to hang out like parks and libraries 41%
More police 38%
Keep schools open later   22%
Other 12%

What do you think would help teens stay safe at school?

Weapons searches 46%
Keeping gang members off campus 44%
More encouragement to care about school from teachers and administrators 44%
More discipline when students do something wrong 37%
Stricter security 29%
Random locker searches 29%
Requiring students to wear uniforms 17%
Other 11%


The last time you felt unsafe, how did you handle it?

Talked to a family member 40%
Talked to a friend 38%
I kept it to myself 25%
I haven’t felt unsafe 24%
Talked to a teacher or other trusted adult 19%
Other 6%
I reported it to the police 4%

Do you know of anti-gang or violence prevention programs
in your neighborhood that help teens keep safe?

I’m not sure if there are any programs where I live 65%
Yes but I’m not interested in joining a program 20%
Yes I’m currently involved in a program 8%
Yes but I don’t have transportation to get there 5%
Yes but I’m afraid of retaliation if I were to join 3%

How do you feel about the police?

They don’t respond quickly enough 35%
They don’t arrest the people who are the cause of the problems 33%
They harass teens
They’re doing all they can 25%
I don’t know 22%
They make me feel safe 22%
There aren’t enough police officers in my community 17%
There are too many police officers in my community 10%

What do you think could reduce violence?

Active neighborhood watch programs 40%
There’s nothing anyone can do because there will always be violence 39%
More police
Harsher punishment for criminals 30%
A peer-to-peer mediation/conflict resolution program at school 29%
Other 8%



(310) 855-HOPE
Confidential help line for teen callers. Call between
6 p.m.‑10 p.m. to speak with a trained teen counselor.

DIAL 211 OR (800) 339-6993
Directory assistance for social services in Los Angeles County, including gang prevention and intervention programs.

Click here to read the transcript and watch the video of our roundtable discussion about violence in the community.

Click here to read how readers reacted to our essay contest about the effects of violence.