How are we doing?
Crime rates (the number of crimes per 1,000 residents) in the San Diego region are among the lowest in the United States. The region’s calendar year 2019 crime outcomes showed the following:
- 2019 Violent Crime Rate = 3.40 per 1,000 residents
- 2019 Property Crime Rate = 16.48 per 1,000 residents
These figures stand lower than comparable national rates of 3.67 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 21.10 property crimes per 1,000 residents.
San Diego County’s 2019 violent crime rate was roughly the same as in 2018, and remains at its fourth lowest level over the past 40 years. There were 86 homicides in San Diego County in 2019, that is one less than in 2018.
The property crime rate represented a 3 percent decline from the previous year, reaching a new 40-year low. At 7,694, the number of burglaries also represented a 40-year low.
Offsetting these record low numbers were increases in the number of aggravated assaults, non-residential burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, and hate crimes when compared with the prior year.
How is it measured?
The areas patrolled by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which include the region’s unincorporated areas and nine contract cities, posted lower crime rates overall than any other jurisdiction in the region.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) compiles and analyzes these statistics across the region’s 18 incorporated cities and County unincorporated areas. Each April, SANDAG releases its Crime in the San Diego Region report. This looks at regional crime data using FBI Index crime information provided by local law enforcement agencies, as well as crime data obtained from the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS).
The FBI Index includes four violent offenses (willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and three types of property crime (burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft).
Why is it important?
City, county, state, federal and tribal agencies need to have a big-picture feel for crime. Tracking crime trends is a way to tell us and our law enforcement partners what we need to know to keep our community safe. But the importance of crime rates goes beyond simply reducing crime. Diminishing victimization is also at the heart of reducing crime rates and recidivism. Crime affects all of us, either directly as victims ourselves, or indirectly as friends or family members of those who have been victimized. The costs associated with crime not only impact our use of limited public resources, but also lead to significant social costs that hurt well-being and quality of life within our communities.
This important crime information is by the County and other local law enforcement agencies, policy makers, and the community in general to track public safety over time to evaluate the effectiveness of our prevention and response efforts.
Where are we going?
The County of San Diego is a leader throughout the region in public safety and criminal justice administration. Our County criminal justice departments work collaboratively with other local law enforcement by investigating crime, prosecuting and defending those accused of crimes, holding offenders in custody, and supervising people in the community on probation.
Keeping crime rates low will not just happen. It requires an aggressive and thoughtful strategy that targets the root causes of crime and addresses the key crime risk factors. We will continue to practice the crime prevention and interruption strategies that helped us reach these low rates of crime, and we will work to extend our historically low adult and juvenile crime rates by:
- Targeting prolific offenders through strategies such as Information-Led Policing, which focuses on serious and/or violent offenders to increase community safety.
- Participating in multi-agency task forces and collaborative policing to lessen the ongoing threats of human trafficking, illegal drugs and gangs.
- Helping those facing homelessness by increasing opportunities for community engagement and providing additional resource referrals.
- Promoting opportunities for children and young adults.
- Strengthening prevention and enforcement strategies to protect children, youth and older adults from neglect and abuse.
Today’s youth represent tomorrow’s leaders, and the County will continue to help them achieve their full potential. Declining numbers of youth in the juvenile justice system indicate significant progress. We will work with schools, families, community organizations and law enforcement to ensure this trend continues by:
- Providing diversion and supportive community-based programs to help keep youth from entering the juvenile justice system.
- Working to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
- Meeting the mental health and other needs of youth in the juvenile justice system.
- Developing mentoring programs for at-risk and justice-involved youth; connecting youth to people with similar life experiences.
- Thirty-Nine Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 through 2019, San Diego Association of Governments, 2020.
- Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2019.
- San Diego County Sheriff's Department contracted cities include Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Poway, Santee, Lemon Grove, Vista, San Marcos and Imperial Beach.