Citywide Crime on Rise in 2015; Murder, Firearm Assaults Flagged

A just-released report by SDPD analysts pegs the 2015 increase at 8.5 percent

 The overall rate of crime in the City of San Diego went up last year, for the first time since 2012 – topping that year’s rate.

A just-released report by SDPD analysts Karly Martin and Chris Haley pegs the 2015 increase at 8.5 percent, while noting that the figure uses the FBI’s “new rape definition that now includes additional sex crimes such as sodomy and oral copulation, and male victims of sex crimes.

“However if the historical definition for rape is applied to crime in 2015 for more accurate comparisons,” Martin and Haley wrote in the report, “overall crime increased by 7.8 percent in 2015. This was the first increase in overall crime since 2012, when crime went up 6.9 percent.”

Also, according to the report:

  • The city’s murder caseload rose to 37 last year, from 32 in 2014, an increase of 15.6 percent
  • Total robberies went up 4.6 percent – more than two-thirds were listed as street robberies, up 10.5 percent.
  • There was a 3.1 percent bump in aggravated assaults, with those involving a firearm showing the biggest increase of 14.6 percent. Nearly 25 percent were domestic violence-related.
  • Overall property crime saw an increase of 8.7 percent.
  • 2015 also was a busier time for thieves involved in vehicle break-ins, shoplifting and other pilferages, up 13.4 percent on a caseload of nearly 19,000. Almost a third of the thefts were vehicle break-ins.
  • Residents were victims of an 8.7 percent increase in burglaries, although the overall burglary rate barely moved upwards at .3 percent while there was a 15.3 percent drop in commercial burglaries.

Despite a hike in response times to all priority calls, Priority E calls – “imminent threat to life, dispatch immediately” -- showed the smallest increase of 2.9 percent. 

“Although crime increased,” Martin and Haley observed in the report, “the number of crimes in each of the categories in 2015 continues to be similar to the number of reported crimes from decades ago. The violent crime rate per thousand residents in 2015 is similar to rates in the early 1970s, and the property crime rate is comparable to rates in the late 1950s.”

Cynthia Burke, director of crime statistics research for the San Diego Assn. of Government, tells NBC 7 that a regional compilation of 2015 crime rates is awaiting verification from all local law enforcement agencies.

“But at this point,” Burke said, “we expect to see regional data that is consistent with what the SDPD is reporting.”

She also feels that while it’s too soon for solid explanation for the increases, “there is a fair amount of conjecture that it is due to Prop. 47 (which reduced certain non-violent, non-sexual felonies to misdemeanors) … I think it is very feasible that at least some of the increase is related to this.”

Meanwhile, according to the SDPD report, the city’s allocation of state funding from AB 109 – which moved 30,000 low-level felons from prisons to county jails – was cut from $1.1 million in 2015 to $690,000 this year.

San Diego’s allocation comprises roughly one-third of the region’s total of AB 109 disbursements.

Contact Us