California’s crime rates are falling, according to recent reports by Attorney General Kamala Harris and a research group.
The state’s crime rates have been declining since 1980 (before the Three Strikes Law) and is now below the national rate, according to a September 2012 report called Crime Trends by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Violent crime increased between 1960 and 1992, but is now on the decline, according to federal criminal justice agencies. Property crime, however, dipped to its lowest since 1960, but is now on the rise.
“Had the state begun considering ways to reduce the prison population years ago, based on the evidence, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” the report concludes.
Here is a breakdown of California crime rates, as reported by the attorney general:
- Motor vehicle theft declined 62.3 percent since peaking in 1989.
- The burglary rate went from 1,225.9 per 100,000 population in 1966 to 612.9 per 100,000 populations in 2011.
- Arson declined 43.7 percent from 2006 to 2011.
- Aggravated assault declined steadily since peaking in 1992.
- Violent crime decreased 2.1 percent from 2010 to 2011, reaching its lowest level since 1968.
- Homicides decreased 56.2 percent from 1993 to 2011 Here is a breakdown of California arrest rates, according to the AG:
- Misdemeanor arrests decreased for a third consecutive year.
- Felony arrests decreased for the sixth consecutive year.
- Juvenile homicide arrests decreased 25 percent.
- Adult homicide arrests decreased 3.6 percent.
- Both adult and juvenile total arrest rates decreased 35 percent from 2006 to 2011.
- The total arrest rate of 4,092.2 per 100,000 at-risk for 2011 is 10.2 percent lower than the 2010 total.
California made two changes in its laws that affected arrest and crime data:
–The limit of felony theft was raised from $400 to $950, resulting in a decline in felony theft arrests and the increase in misdemeanor theft arrests.
–Some misdemeanor marijuana statutes were re-classified as infractions. This led to a decline in misdemeanor marijuana arrests.
“I find it revealing that research data shows that crime rates have been on the decline since 1980; given the fact that law enforcement and politicians justified the Three Strikes Law by insisting that crime rates were up,” said R. Simpson of San Quentin’s H-Unit dorm housing.
“I am unaware that crime rates have been on the decline since 1980. I think too many people were sent to prison for minor issues, when the courts could have used alternatives to incarceration,” said R. Davenport, a resident of San Quentin’s Donner Block.