San Diego

SDPD Chief Credits Drop in Crime to Revamped Recruiting Effort

NBC 7 San Diego

Crime decreased in San Diego by 1.3% in 2019 which city leaders credited to a "landmark contract agreement'' and aggressive recruitment efforts to bolster the San Diego Police Department.

San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said that while homicides increased from 2018 to 2019, all other violent crimes -- including sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults -- declined.

Violent crime was down nearly 3% while property crimes such as burglaries, thefts and vehicle thefts were also down, Nisleit said. San Diego's 2019 violent crime rate was comparable to rates it experienced in the 1970s, while the property crime rate statistics are comparable to rates it experienced in the late 1950s, Nisleit said.

According to a statement from the city, four people out of 1,000 were the victim of a violent crime in 2019, while 19 people out of 1,000 were the victim of a property crime.

San Diego had the lowest violent crime rate per 1,000 residents among the nation's 10 largest cities, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. Faulconer said one element to lowering crime was the 2017 contract agreement between the city and the San Diego Police Officers Association, which resulted in salary increases that made SDPD pay more competitive with other state law enforcement agencies.

Faulconer also credited a ``very aggressive marketing campaign'' undertaken to attract recruits from across the nation, leading to the largest police academy class sizes "in more than a decade,'' he said.

Jack Schaeffer, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, the union representing the department's rank-and-file officers said, "The landmark agreement gave SDPD the necessary resources to rebuild itself into a robust organization that can meet the demands of a growing population and continue focusing on its number one priority -- keeping all San Diegans safe. This report showcasing a decline in overall crime reinforces what we already knew: these investments continue to bring a tremendous return to the benefit of all San Diegans.''

Faulconer said the announcement was scheduled as a preview of the San Diego Association of Governments' annual ``Crime in the San Diego Region'' report, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

SANDAG recently released a county-wide crime report showing that larceny crimes such as car break-ins have decreased roughly 25% in San Diego County in the past two months, amid stay-at-home orders brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to thank Chief Nisleit and the San Diego Police Department for all their work and dedication to residents of our city. I’m pleased that there has been a reduction in crime across most categories.

San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez later issued the following statement regarding citywide crime statistics:

“However, I am alarmed that murders have increased, and I remain concerned about lack of access to resources and economic opportunities in some of our communities. I look forward to seeing this data broken down by district. Being better informed about where and why criminal activity is happening will enable us to make better decisions about how we redirect City resources, infrastructure, and programs. 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our most vulnerable communities and increasing unemployment, we must ensure that our communities have access to resources, and that we are not criminalizing economic hardship.   

“I am committed to working with my Council colleagues to prioritize relief and resources for our most vulnerable residents.”  

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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