SAN DIEGO–The rates of violent crime and property crime dropped in the San Diego region during 2009, with both hitting new 25-year lows, according to the San Diego Association of Governments SANDAG annual regional crime bulletin.
“Compared to 25 years earlier, the San Diego region is a safer place to live in terms of both violent and property crime, despite the economic downturn,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG director of criminal justice research. “Local law enforcement is committed to continuing to effectively collaborate to identify and address crime issues in our communities, which is of growing importance during the continued economic uncertainty.”
The Twenty-Five Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1985 through 2009 report released by SANDAG today details crimes for all 18 cities and the unincorporated area of the county. It serves as a tool for local law enforcement agencies in gauging the success of enforcement strategies and crime prevention programs.
There were 4.03 violent crimes per 1,000 residents in the county during 2009, a 2 percent decrease from the year before and less than half the 25-year high of 9.76 reached in 1992. (Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.)
Homicides in particular saw a large decrease. In 2009, there were a total of 75 homicides, which was the lowest number in the past 25 years, the third consecutive decrease, and a 17 percent drop from 2008 (during which there were 90). Looking back over the last 25 years, the number of homicides in the San Diego region peaked at 278 in 1991.
With the sixth consecutive annual decrease, the property crime rate also hit its lowest point in the past 25 years, at 21.97 incidents per 1,000 residents despite speculation that it might increase with the recent downturn in economic conditions. Property crimes hit a 25-year high in 1988, with 67.26 incidents per 1,000 residents. (Property crimes include burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft.)
Other interesting facts in this year’s report include:
- In terms of dollar value, $195.5 million worth of property was stolen in the San Diego region in 2009, compared to $258.6 million in 2008, a 24 percent decrease. Thirty-three percent of this property, which was valued at $63.7 million, was recovered in 2009, compared to 35 percent and $89.8 million recovered in 2008.
- Despite concerns that the economic downturn would result in more property crime, the number of burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts were all at 25-year lows.
- One unusual increase in property crime was bicycle thefts, which were up 24 percent from 2008 to 2009.
- There were 108 hate crimes reported to local law enforcement in 2009, compared to 118 in 2008. Just over half the incidents appeared motivated by race, ethnicity, or national origin; 26 percent by sexual orientation; and 19 percent by religion.