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Overall regional crime rates continue decline

Violent crime and property crime rates in the San Diego region again hit new, 30-year lows in 2011, according to the SANDAG annual regional crime report.

The exception to the downward trend was homicides, which rose 22 percent from the previous year. There were 82 homicides in the region in 2011, nearly two-thirds of which occurred in the first six months. Domestic violence accounted for 30 percent of the deaths (up from 18 percent a year ago).

Thirty Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1982 through 2011, released by SANDAG on April 25, details crimes for all 18 cities and the unincorporated area of the county. It serves as a tool for local law enforcement agencies in gauging the success of enforcement strategies and crime prevention programs.

“Our communities remain some of the safest in the nation, reflecting in part the excellent level of collaboration and partnerships we have built across the county,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG director of criminal justice research. “However, with that said, recent legislation will increase the number of offenders and ex-offenders under local supervision, instead of state supervision. This shift will continue to create growing demands on law enforcement and community supervision agencies tasked with maintaining public safety at the historical lows we have had the last few years.”

Other interesting facts in this year’s report include:

• The 82 homicides in 2011 (up from 67 a year ago) was the first increase since 2006. Where motives could be discerned, three dominated: arguments, domestic violence, and gang-related incidents. Financial concerns accounted for 3 percent. Homicides peaked at 278 in 1991.

• Across the county, the violent crime rate dropped to 3.41 per 1,000 residents – a 30-year low. Violent crime peaked at 9.76 incidents per 1,000 in 1992.

• Robberies dropped 9 percent, the largest one-year decline in the violent crime category.

• There were 660 rapes and attempted rapes reported in San Diego County in 2011, an overall decline of 2 percent. However, reports of attempted rapes increased 31 percent, from 126 to 161, while rapes declined 10 percent, from 553 to 499.

• Residential burglaries dropped 8 percent, but non-residential burglaries decreased less than 1 percent.

• Larcenies were down in general, but there were more reports of bicycle thefts in 2011.

• There were 65,097 property crimes reported in 2011 – one for every 50 residents. That is a decrease from one for every 34 a year earlier. Thieves made off with $157.6 million worth of property in 2011, a fourth of which was recovered.

• Motor vehicle thefts declined 10 percent. Last year, 11,346 vehicles were stolen – one in every 207 registered in the county.

• Arsons fell from 366 in 2010 to 318 last year. Of those, 47 percent were structures.

• There were fewer hate crimes, compared to 2010: 111 versus 133, and more suspects: 152 versus 116. Motivations for hate crimes were divided among race/ethnicity (56%), sexual orientation (23%), and religion (21%).

Project Manager(s)

Dr. Cynthia Burke, Director, Criminal Justice Research Division
Phone: (619) 699-1910, E-mail:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or