Violent crime in San Diego County increased in 2021 but was still lower than the national average, a report released Tuesday by the San Diego Association of Governments found.
The annual report, "42 Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 through 2021," found homicide, rape and aggravated assault increased 3%, 11% and 12% respectively in 2021.
"While the 2021 crime rates are historic lows for our region, violent and property crimes were up last year," SANDAG Senior Director of Data Science Cynthia Burke said. "By using the data that SANDAG has collected over the past four decades, we have a much better understanding of crime patterns throughout our communities, helping public safety agencies and policymakers develop reduction strategies that more effectively address what is happening today."
San Diego's violent crime rate of 3.45 was slightly below the nation's average of 3.99. The violent crime rate in the San Diego region increased in the later part of the 1980s, reaching a peak of 9.76 in 1992. Since then, it generally declined to a 42-year low in 2014 (3.27) and then stabilized somewhat.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
There were 118 homicides in 2021 compared to 115 in 2020. For homicide cases where a motive could be determined (84 cases), 32% were related to an argument and 18% were gang-related. Aggravated assaults with a firearm increased by 18%. Violent crime against senior citizens increased by 10% and reported domestic violence increased by 3%. Arsons saw an 18% decrease.
Robbery, also categorized as a violent crime, decreased in 2021 to the lowest rates since SANDAG began measuring crime rates in the region. Robberies have been generally declining since reaching a peak in 1992. Burglaries were at an all-time low in 2021, and when compared to rates since 1980, they continued a nine-year downward trend.
Aggravated assault also increased for the sixth straight year to reach 8,887 reported in 2021.
Property crime rates increased by 9% from 2020, with nearly one in every 62 residents falling victim. Despite this, property crime rates are still the second-lowest during the past 42 years. Theft of motor vehicle parts was up 71%, with catalytic converters being stolen most often.
According to the new SANDAG report, an average of $668,000 was stolen per day in 2021, and only about one-third of the value of stolen property was recovered.
SANDAG has reported regional crime statistics for the San Diego region since 1980, releasing reports related to crime rates, arrests, drug use and an annual public safety spending report for the region -- which will be released later this year.