County crime rates up in first half of 2012

Submitted press release

After several consecutive years of declines, crime rates in San Diego County are on the upswing in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year — however, both violent crime and property crime rates are still the second lowest in the past 10 years, according to a SANDAG report released recently.

The region’s midyear violent crime rate is 3.70 per 1,000 residents, an 8 percent increase from midyear 2011, with jumps recorded in homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. The midyear property crime rate is 21.38, 7 percent higher than in midyear 2011. The region saw increases in all types of property crimes with the exception of non-residential burglaries.

However, the 2012 midyear crime rates are still lower than what the region experienced in any other year between 2003 and 2010.

“We have enjoyed historic lows in crime rates over the past decade, so it’s not entirely surprising that the numbers are now going up,” said SANDAG Director of Criminal Justice Research Dr. Cynthia Burke.

“It’s too early to tell if the uptick is temporary or if it’s the beginning of a trend. Given the limited data at this point, I would also caution against attributing the increase in crime rates to any one cause,” she said.

Findings on violent crime:

• A total of 5,808 violent crimes were reported to local law enforcement agencies in the region between January and June 2012. That was an average of almost 32 per day, compared to 29 per day during the first six months of 2011.

• There were 61 homicides reported in the first half of 2012, the second consecutive mid-year increase and a jump from the 51 reported during the first half of 2011.

• The number of rapes increased 26 percent from 298 in mid-year 2011 to 376 during the first half of 2012. This is the first increase since mid-year 2007 to 2008. At least part of the increase may be attributed to a new definition of rape announced earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Justice. Under the new definition, crimes that may have previously been categorized as aggravated assaults may now be categorized as rape.

• The number of robberies increased from 1,445 in the first half of 2011 to 1,530 the first half of 2012, a 6 percent jump.

• The number of aggravated assaults increased 9 percent, from 3,527 in mid-year 2011 to 3,841 in mid-year 2012.

Property crime findings:

• A total of 33,599 property crimes were reported to local law enforcement agencies in the first half of 2012. Sixty-three percent were larcenies, 20 percent burglaries, and 17 percent motor vehicle thefts.

• The 6,840 burglaries reported in the San Diego region in the first half of 2012 represented an increase of 13 percent from mid-year 2011 (6,074). However, while residential burglaries increased 23 percent (from 3,751 to 4,607), non-residential burglaries went down by 4 percent (2,323 to 2,233).

• The number of larcenies reported in the region mid-year 2012 (21,043) represented a 7 percent increase from mid-year 2011 (19,675). Both petty theft (estimated value of items stolen $400 and under) and grand theft (estimated value of items stolen exceeding $400) increased by 6% and 8%, respectively.

• Following four consecutive decreases, the number of motor vehicle thefts increased by 9 percent in the first half of 2012 (from 5,232 in 2011 to 5,716 in 2012).

The complete report is available at

www.sandag.org/cj

.

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