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01-11-2023 | News Release

New SANDAG Study Finds Arrest Rate in the San Diego Region at a Seven-Year Low in 2021

The arrest rate in the San Diego region dropped 8% for juveniles and 5% for adults in 2021, reaching a seven-year low according to a new SANDAG report, Arrests 2021: Law Enforcement Response to Crime in the San Diego Region.

The report found that an average of 155 adults and six juveniles were arrested per day in 2021, down from 272 and 12, respectively, in 2017. However, the data showed an increase in violent (3% and 4%) and weapon (17% and 98%) arrests for both adults and juveniles. 

“This data is an important measure for the community to understand law enforcement’s response to crime,” said SANDAG Senior Director of Data Science Dr. Cynthia Burke. “Over the years compared in this report, we have seen a continued decline in the felonies committed overall, as well as fewer arrests in juveniles. However, weapon offenses have seen an uptick, which is likely related to the growing issue of untraceable firearms, or ghost guns, in our communities.” 

In addition, while arrest rates largely decreased for all ethnic groups, racial differences remained. Black and Hispanic individuals were overrepresented in all arrest categories in 2021.  White individuals and those who represented other races/ethnicities were underrepresented. 

Other notable report findings include: 
Adult and juvenile arrests for property and drug crime decreased in 2021, compared to 2020.
Around two in five arrests were considered felonies in 2021.
Adult arrests for driving under the influence increased at both the felony and misdemeanor level in 2021 (up 34% and 12%, respectively, from 2020).

For a full breakdown of the data collected, read the SANDAG Criminal Justice Bulletin: Arrests 2021: Law Enforcement Response to Crime in the San Diego Region.

For a summary of this report, view the SANDAG CJ Flash: Arrests in the San Diego Region

Local data for this report were extracted and analyzed by SANDAG Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS). ARJIS is a complex criminal justice enterprise network used by more than 60 local, state, and federal agencies throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.