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SANDAG Annual Regional Crime Report Shows Property Crime at a 38-Year Low, While Several Categories of Violent Crime Crept Higher in 2017

The San Diego Region continues to be one of the safest in the country

April 20, 2018-- The San Diego region remains one of the safest areas of the country compared to the United States overall, with the fourth lowest violent crime rate since 1980, and the lowest property crime rate ever, according to the SANDAG Criminal Justice Bulletin released today.

Titled “Thirty-Eight Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 Through 2017,” the Criminal Justice Bulletin tracks four violent crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and three property crimes for each jurisdiction by year and over time. It also examines trends in domestic violence, hate crimes, arson, and violent crimes against seniors.

“While we should be proud of the overall safety of many areas in the San Diego region, it is important to remember that we know from victimization surveys that not all crime is reported to law enforcement and that some crimes, such as identity theft, are not included in these statistics,” said Cynthia Burke, director of SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division.

“That is also the reason why the increase in violent crimes against seniors is important to note. According to national sources, older adults may be less likely to recover from and to report their victimization,” Burke added.  “With the jump in the number of violent crimes against seniors and an aging population, it is important that we work together to bring attention to this issue, as well as how this group may become property crime victims.”

Below are selected highlights from the Criminal Justice (CJ) Bulletin:

• Compared to 2016 national figures, the most recent annual statistics available, the San Diego region had lower violent (3.33) and property crime rates (18.67) than the nation as a whole (3.86 and 24.51, respectively).

• Property crime rates were at a 38-year low in 2017 with decreases in the number of burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts.

• In 1980, there were 38,752 burglaries in the San Diego region. This dropped to a record low in 2017 of 9,120, a 76 percent decline, even though the population increased an estimated 77 percent.

• There were 80 homicides in the San Diego region in 2017, a decrease of 21 percent from the 101 documented in 2016. Homicide was the only violent crime to decrease in number. Arguments were documented as the primary motive for approximately half of the homicides.

• There were increases in each of the three other violent crime categories of rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

• The 3,013 robberies reported in 2017 represented the largest one-year increase (8%) in any of the crime categories. Almost one in five (18%) of the robberies reported in 2017 involved the use of a firearm.

• Violent crime against seniors was up in 2017. Since 2013, the population of those 60 and older has increased by 20 percent, but the number of violent crime victimizations has gone up by 41 percent.

• Domestic violence incidents were up 4 percent from 2016 and hate crime events were up 13 percent from the previous year.

• From 1980 to 2017 the number of larceny thefts dropped 42 percent, with the biggest decline over the past year in the number of shoplifting incidents.

• In 2017, the most common type of larceny was motor vehicle theft (40%).

Accompanying the release of the full CJ Bulletin is a short CJ Flash which summarizes key findings in light of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which was April 8 to 14.

Since 1980, SANDAG has been reporting crime statistics for the San Diego region through a cooperative agreement with local law enforcement agencies. These data are useful to local law enforcement, policy makers, and the community in general in tracking public safety over time, as well as the effectiveness of crime prevention and response efforts.

SANDAG is the only local entity to compile and analyze these statistics historically across the 18 incorporated cities, as well as the unincorporated areas of the County of San Diego, making this information some of the most frequently requested from the SANDAG Criminal Justice Clearinghouse.

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