Statement: “Every single month we have tips on marijuana, weapons, knives, guns in middle schools. We actually are getting more tips from middle schools than high schools right now,” Sally Cox, executive director of San Diego County Crime Stoppers, said during a public safety panel June 22.
Analysis: We asked Cox for the numbers behind that trend and she said Crime Stoppers — a nonprofit that partners with area law enforcement agencies to solve crime — had received 38 tips from the region’s schools during the last school year that helped identify a crime. Twenty of those came from middle schools and 18 from high schools.
During the previous school year, the region’s schools produced 30 crime tips — 16 from middle schools and 14 from high schools.
So the statistics back up her statement, but here are two caveats worth noting:
First, Crime Stoppers doesn’t track where all tips come from. For example, Cox said she can’t determine statistically whether middle schools provided more bad tips than high schools. She can only compare the good tips, which lead police to evidence that solves a crime.
And second, her statement could imply that Crime Stoppers received tips on a multitude of crimes every month. Marijuana, alcohol or drugs tips happen frequently, she said, but weapon tips are rarer. Of the 20 positive tips from middle schools last year, three produced knives and two produced BB guns.
Cox said she thinks more good tips come from middle school because that age group appears more comfortable with authorities. “They don’t seem to have as such a strong sentiment against coming in” as their peers in high school, she said.
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— KEEGAN KYLE