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Crime rate up in 2015, still near historic low

The overall crime rate in San Diego County increased by 6 percent in 2015, although it still remained near a 36-year low, according to the annual regional crime report released today by SANDAG.

An 11 percent jump in larcenies fueled much of the overall increase, according to the report, Thirty-Six Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 Through 2015.

“Despite this year’s uptick, the crime rate was still the second lowest since 1980,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, director of SANDAG’s Criminal Justice Research Division. “And the region still has one of lowest crime rates in the nation.”

A total of 74,383 violent and property crimes were reported to the region’s law enforcement agencies in 2015, almost 204 per day. Of these, 85 percent were property crimes.

The increase in property crimes (burglary, larceny and motor-vehicle theft) was fueled largely by the 11 percent increase in larcenies over the previous year. The most common type of larceny – representing about one in three – was theft of an item, such as a purse or a laptop, from a motor vehicle.

The number of burglaries in the region dropped 2 percent, reaching a new 36-year low.  Nearly half of all burglaries – 54 percent – involved no forced entry, according to the report.

There were 10,938 violent crimes reported across the region in 2015 (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). The violent crime rate was up 2 percent from 2014, but the increase was at least partially due to the change in how the crime of rape is defined under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, according to the report. This expanded definition of rape by the FBI limits the ability of statisticians to make comparisons of 2015 rape statistics and overall violent crime statistics to previous years.

San Diego County’s violent crime rate was the second lowest it has been since 1980.

The region experienced 84 homicides in 2015, 10 more than in 2014. In cases where motive could be determined, 52 percent were due to an argument, 22 percent to domestic violence, and 17 percent to gang activity, according to the report.

The annual report, Thirty-Six Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 Through 2015, 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 regional findings in this year’s report include:

• The number of domestic violence incidents across the region increased 6 percent.
• Violent crimes against seniors were up 10 percent.
• Hate crimes were down 37 percent from 2011 to 2015 – from 112 to 71.
• On average, $457,542 in property was stolen per day in the San Diego region as captured in these stats, with 18 percent of stolen property recovered.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or pio@sandag.org.