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Experimental Crime Rates Using Daytime Population

A standardized method used to measure crime is the rate per 1,000 residents. By comparing crime rates over time, changes in population can be taken into account. Recently released crime data from SANDAG shows that San Diego County ’s 2004 overall crime rate (36.9 crimes per 1,000 residents), which includes violent and property crime, was down slightly from 2003 (37.2 crimes per 1,000 residents).

However, another possible way to view crime is to base the rate on the daytime population, rather than the number of residents. With the exception of one jurisdiction ( Escondido ), each of the jurisdictions’ standard crime rates changed to some degree when using the weekday daytime population. Specifically, ten jurisdictions had lower crime rates (because more people come to that area during the day than actually live there) and eight had higher rates (because more people leave that area during the day). Coronado had the greatest decrease and Imperial Beach had the greatest increase in their crime rates. It is important to note that these differences do not reflect a change in the actual number of crimes, which is constant.

Although these weekday daytime population estimates are limited because they do not include individuals who visit a jurisdiction at night or on weekends, they do offer another way to view crime and how rates may vary when one considers the number of visitors to a jurisdiction and not only residents. Understanding variation between the two rates can help communities focus crime prevention and law enforcement efforts. As such, it would be beneficial to identify alternative ways to compute daytime populations that would more accurately reflect those relevant activities that could further impact crime rates and better inform crime analysis.

Project Manager:
Cynthia Burke
619-699-1910


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