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Violent crime rate falls after spike in 2012

After an uptick in 2012, the regional violent crime rate declined in 2013, with homicides seeing the biggest one-year decrease, according to the annual regional crime report released by SANDAG.

The 2013 violent crime rate – 3.66 per 1,000 residents – represented a 5 percent decrease from 2012 and was the second lowest in the past 30 years. A total of 11,515 violent crimes (homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) were reported to local law enforcement last year. 

There were 72 homicides in the San Diego region in 2013, a 33 percent decrease from 2012, when there were 107. More homicides in 2013 were tied to an argument, compared to 2012, and fewer were gang-motivated. In addition, the number of homicides related to child abuse decreased from 13 in 2012 to 2 in 2013.

The number of robberies reported across the region also decreased 4 percent overall, but the number of bank robberies increased 22 percent, from 79 in 2012 to 96 in 2013.

“What we are seeing in the San Diego region is consistent with what other large cities are seeing throughout the United States – crime rates that remain at record lows,” said SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Director Dr. Cynthia Burke.

“Public safety realignment, as enacted under AB 109, does not appear to have resulted in an increased number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement in San Diego or most other California cities,” Burke said. “But AB 109 may be one factor in property crimes holding steady or seeing slight increases in this region, while other places in the country are experiencing continuing declines.”

Property crime rates in the San Diego region were up slightly over the past year (less than 1%), with the increase tied to a greater number of larcenies. A total of 70,383 property crimes were reported locally in 2013. The total value of property stolen on any one day in the region was almost $482,000. Eighteen percent of the property was recovered.

The annual report, Thirty Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1984 through 2013, includes a breakdown of crime statistics by jurisdiction. Crime data from all 18 cities and the unincorporated areas of the county were compiled and analyzed. The report serves as an important tool for local law enforcement agencies to track public safety trends over time and gauge the effectiveness of enforcement strategies and crime prevention programs.

Other notable findings in this year’s report include the following:

• The number of violent crimes against senior citizens was up slightly over the past year (4%), as was the number of domestic violence crimes reported to law enforcement (2%).
• The number of reported motor vehicle thefts was at a 30-year low in 2013, down to 11,288, a decrease of 8 percent from 2012.
• While residential burglaries were down in 2013, non-residential burglaries were up. Over half (54%) of all burglaries involved no forced entry.
• The theft of bicycles is one of the most common types of larceny. Between 2012 and 2013, the thefts of bicycles increased by 25 percent from 3,088 to 3,858.
• The number of hate crime events reported in the region increased by 5 percent between 2012 and 2013, from 100 to 105.
Most of these crimes were related to the actual or perceived race/ethnicity or national origin of the victim (60%), with the rest tied to sexual orientation (24%) or religion (16%).

Project Manager(s)

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