By City News Service
Violent crime in San Diego County decreased by 1 percent and property crimes by 13 percent in the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2013, according to statistics released Sept. 11 by the San Diego Association of Governments.
A total of 5,400 violent crimes — including homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — were reported through June. The annualized rate of 3.43 per 1,000 residents is down from 3.45 in mid-2013, according to SANDAG.
Sixteen of the 19 local jurisdictions experienced decreases in property crime, ranging from a 3 percent decline in La Mesa to a 37 percent drop in Del Mar. At this time last year, property crime had spiked by 5 percent compared to mid-year 2012.
“There are many theories as to why we are experiencing historic drops in crime,’’ SANDAG criminal justice research Director Cynthia Burke said. “The local law enforcement officials we’ve talked to attribute some of the decreases in property crime to factors such as proactive supervision of ex-offenders, the use of forensic technology to identify serial criminals, and cross-jurisdictional sharing of intelligence to combat crime trends.’’
She said 38 homicides were recorded in the first six months of this year in San Diego County, compared to 41 in the same period last year — totals far lower than many other large metropolitan areas.
But the number of rapes climbed 20 percent from last year — to 376 cases through June, Burke said. She said rape figures fluctuate from year to year, so the hike doesn’t yet appear to be a trend.
Auto theft, once highly prevalent in the county, fell by 12 percent from the first six months of last year. SANDAG reported that just over 5,000 vehicles were taken through June.
The number of domestic violence cases in the county climbed 4 percent to around 8,300, a total that is still down 2 percent from 2010.
SANDAG, the regional planning organization, has been compiling crime data in the county for 34 years. The information helps local political leaders with policy-making decisions, according to the agency.