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Property Crime Rate Reaches New 40-Year Low in Region

May 19, 2020-- New SANDAG Report Finds Property Crime 74% Lower in 2019 Compared to 1980

Property crime in the San Diego region reached a new 40-year low in 2019, according to a report recently released by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Clearinghouse, Forty Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 Through 2019. The report found that while the region’s population has increased 80% during the past 40 years, the number of crimes reported has decreased considerably.

In 2019, the property crime rate was 3% lower than in 2018 and 74% lower when compared to rates in 1980, the same year SANDAG began reporting regional crime statistics.

The SANDAG report also found that burglaries were at an all-time 40-year low in 2019. More than two in every five burglaries reported did not involve forced entry, suggesting that the number of burglaries could be lowered further with increased crime prevention.

According to the report, an average of $539,000 was stolen per day in the San Diego region in 2019, with 34% eventually recovered.
Other notable findings in the SANDAG report include:

  • In 1980, one in 16 residents was a victim of property crime. In 2019, that number decreased to one in 61
  • The only reported crimes in the San Diego region to increase between 1980 and 2019 were rape and aggravated assault, though the implementation of mandated domestic violence reporting requirements and changes to the definition of rape are likely contributing factors to increases in reports 
  • Between 1980 and 2019, several crimes reported dropped:  Motor vehicle theft was down 25%, Robbery was down 41%, Larceny was down 42%, Homicide was down 52%, Burglary was down 80%

The study also found that between 2018 and 2019, hate crime events were up 24%, with the three most common motives being anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-homosexual male.

This report measures crime trend data through the end of 2019. Since then, we have all been affected by the public health crisis and stay at home orders. In an attempt to evaluate how COVID-19 and the stay at home orders have affected crime in the San Diego region, SANDAG analyzed crime case data reported across the San Diego region for March and April 2019 and 2020. This analysis was highlighted in a recent SANDAG InfoBits report, which found property crime, as measured by larcenies, decreased more from March and April 2019 to 2020, compared to violent crime, as measured by aggravated and simple assaults.

“The San Diego region is still one of the safest in the nation, starting 2020 with the property crime rate at a 40-year low and the violent crime rate at its fourth lowest since 1980,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG Research and Program Management Director. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change daily life for all of us, our team will keep working with law enforcement agencies across the region to document possible short- and long-term impacts of this public health crisis on public safety.”

To view the analysis of public safety in the San Diego region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, view the SANDAG InfoBits report.

For a full breakdown of the data collected, view Forty Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 through 2019 - CJ Bulletin May 2020.

For a summary of this report, view 40 Years of Crime In The San Diego Region - CJ Flash May 2020.

As part of this report, SANDAG also compiled data summaries for each jurisdiction, showing violent and property crime rates, and 2018 to 2019 data comparisons. View Annual Crime Statistics by Jurisdiction.

Project Manager(s)

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