Columbine and student perceptions of safety: A quasi-experimental study

Paul B. Stretesky*, Michael J. Hogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the extent to which the Columbine High School shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado impacted the perceived safety of female university students in upstate New York. The data for this project were collected for another purpose, but reflect points in time before and after the shooting at Columbine (n=122). Both bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses confirmed the hypothesis that, on average, respondents in the reference group (those students surveyed prior to the shooting) felt considerably safer than respondents in the experimental group (those students surveyed after the shooting). These results, though limited by practical constraints, provide additional support for the position that a media effect exists for sensationalized nonlocal crimes. Notably, the findings also suggest that the media portrayal of Columbine impacted student's perceptions of safety more than their own past victimization experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


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