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Arrest Rates in the San Diego Region Reach a Ten-Year Low in 2018

New SANDAG Study Analyzes Local Arrest Rates Among Adults and Juveniles

April 2, 2020-- The San Diego County juvenile arrest rate dropped 82% between 2009 and 2018, according to a new report released by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division, Arrests 2018: Law Enforcement Response to Crime in the San Diego Region.

Over the past 10 years, the juvenile arrest rate has reached a new low, averaging 10 arrests per 1,000 juveniles in 2018 compared to more than 55.1 arrests in 2009. Adult arrest rates dropped to about 32.5 per 1,000 adults in 2018 compared to more than 41.9 arrests in 2009.

Arrest rates for both juveniles and adults were lower than the state average, however, compared to the other four largest CA counties, which include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino, the San Diego region had the second highest rates for adults and third highest rates for juveniles.

Following the passing of Proposition 47 in 2014, -- legalizing marijuana and reducing numerous property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors -- felony arrest rates declined, and misdemeanor arrest rates increased over the years. However, both felony and misdemeanor arrest rates have declined overall. The misdemeanor arrest rates have decreased by 9%, compared to 6% for the felony arrest rate.

Fewer adults were arrested in a majority of categories in 2018, compared to 2017. There were increases in 13 of the 35 arrest categories used to analyze data.

The largest one-year increases in 2018 included:
• Hit-and-run up 47%, from 270 to 397
• Arson up 42%, from 55 to 78
• Disturbing the peace up 15%, from 2,951 to 3,381
• Rape up 12%, from 104 to 117

SANDAG also analyzed arrest data for each jurisdiction in the San Diego region. The study found that the average number of arrests per day varied from less than one per day in Coronado, Solana Beach, and Del Mar, to more than 89 in the City of San Diego. The most common reasons for arrests varied across jurisdictions. Some interesting patterns included:
• Drug-related, assaults, and “other” offenses were among the most common arrests for nearly all of the 19 jurisdictions, except Del Mar, Encinitas, and Carlsbad
• Alcohol-related offenses were among the top for most jurisdictions
• Driving under the influence was in the top for seven jurisdictions and was the most frequent arrest type in Coronado
• Larceny/petty theft was in the top four for just two jurisdictions – La Mesa and Santee

For a full breakdown of the data collected, visit the SANDAG Criminal Justice Bulletin: Arrests 2018: Law Enforcement Response to Crime in the San Diego Region.

For summaries of this report, view the SANDAG Criminal Justice Flashes, Arrests Across the San Diego Region: How Do Different Jurisdictions Compare? or Four Interesting Facts About Arrests in San Diego County.

Project Manager(s)

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