Crime fell to a 30-year low throughout most of San Diego County last year, a report released Wednesday announced.
On average, violent crime – defined as homicide, rape, robbery or aggravated assault fell to about 11,000 in 2011. But the county experienced an increase in homicides and domestic violence-motivated murder, according to the “Thirty Years of Crime” report by SANDAG.
Click here to read the report in its entirety.
This makes San Diego the third safest place to live, compared to other large cities – both in terms of violent crime and property crime, the report concluded.
Since its peak in 1992, violent crime throughout the region has been steadily dropping (see graph right), despite a drop in the ratio of officers per citizen over the past few years.
"We have fewer sworn officers per population than other major U.S. cities, so we do a good job with the resources we have compared to other cities," said SANDAG's Criminal Justice Research Division director Cynthia Burke.
Burke, who also authored the report wrote that there are a few possible reasons for the drop. One reason may be that recent laws have increased jail or prison time for violent offenses. Another reason – the county has aggressively targeted and policed gang activity.
"I think we are doing a better job of working together than we ever have before," Burke said. "You can't deny that locking people up who have committed crimes is going to make less offenders on the street--that has an influence, as does technology and more of knowing what works."
Hate crimes dropped by 15 percent from 2010 to 2011, the report found. A majority of the hate crimes were motivated by race, ethnicity or national origin. About a quarter were motivated by sexual orientation, and 21 percent were motivated by religion.
Beneath the rosy figures were some concerning reports though. For instance, San Diego experienced 82 homicides in 2011 – a 22 percent increase from 2010. The primary motive in these homicides is increasingly listed as domestic violence. However, overall, the number of reported domestic violence incidents decreased 6 percent from 2010 – the lowest it has been since 1988.
Another concerning detail was the number of attempted rapes reported in the county. While the number of completed rapes decreased 10 percent over the year, the number of attempted rapes reported to law enforcement increased 31 percent.
However, on the up side, property crime made up the majority of crime in the past year. This will help people in San Diego to be more aware of the risks in their communities, Burke said.
"The fact that most crime is property crime---being able to continue to know your neighbors, take preventative measures and don't assume because we're safe that its going to keep going down forever, it can only go down so low," Burke said.