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Violent crime rises for fifth straight year in San Diego County

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 20:20:35-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Violent crime in San Diego County rose in the first half of the year for the fifth consecutive year, according to a report released Tuesday by the San Diego Association of Governments.

The report by SANDAG's Criminal Justice Research Division found that the mid-year number of violent crimes in the county was 5,545, up from 5,510 last year; 5,421 in 2017; 5,361 in 2016; and 5,330 in 2015. The five-year increase amounts to a 4% bump in violent crime.

Reports of property crime went the opposite direction, falling from 30,447 in 2015 to 27,236 in 2019, an 11% decrease.

The mid-year numbers of violent and property crimes in 2019 are vastly different from 2009, when the city received 6,256 violent crime reports and 35,204 property crime reports. Violent crime reports dropped 11.4% in that span, mainly because robbery reports fell from 1,931 to 1,411, according to the SANDAG report.

Despite the overall drop in robbery reports, this year's number increased 5% compared to the same six-month period last year. Arson reports saw the largest drop from last year to this year -- falling 28% from 190 to 136 -- while homicides dropped from 40 to 38.

Reported property crimes fell 22.6% from 2009 to 2019 and residential burglaries saw the biggest decrease in that time, dropping 53.9% from 4,460 to 2,054.

Larceny over $400 was the only category to increase from 2009 to 2019, rising from 7,578 to 8,527.

Reports of rape fell to 539 after reaching 604 at the midway point of 2018. However, numbers since 2015 may be somewhat deceiving, as California law enforcement broadened the definition of rape in 2015 to include ``male victims, sodomy, penetration with any body part or object, and no longer requires force,'' according to SANDAG Division Director of Criminal Justice Dr. Cynthia Burke.

As a result, some crimes that would have been classified as aggravated assaults are now considered rapes and some crimes that would not have been considered violent crimes are now captured in these statistics, Burke said.

Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

According to the report, San Diego law enforcement has received an average of 31 reports of violent crime and 150 reports of property crime per day during 2019's first half.