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Attorney General Lockyer Delivers Annual State of the Public Safety Address

Tuesday, January 25, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – In his annual State of the Public Safety address today, Attorney General Bill Lockyer reported that preliminary figures for the first three quarters of 1999 show crime in California dropped by 14.7 percent when compared to the first three quarters of 1998. Lockyer indicated that while this is welcome news, relying only on tough sentencing laws and detention practices to protect public safety is not enough. He called for a new focus on two criminal justice strategies that have been neglected - crime prevention and criminal apprehension.

The Attorney General stated that allocating resources to prevention will make certain that crime rates do not return to their previous, unprecedented levels. Lockyer highlighted the prevention strategies of community-oriented policing, effective enforcement of gun laws, youth violence prevention, school safety, after-school programs and domestic violence reduction.

Lockyer renewed his firm commitment to improving criminal apprehension efforts in California. "We can not allow criminals to live without the fear of getting caught," he said. Lockyer's apprehension efforts include: improving law enforcement cooperation, serving outstanding warrants, eliminating the backlog at the state's DNA database and increased funding for forensic services.

Throughout his first year as Attorney General, Lockyer has rededicated the Department of Justice to improving relationships with law enforcement officials, client agencies and citizens. Lockyer also noted many of the Department's accomplishments from the past year, including: the tobacco settlement; improved enforcement of environmental laws; illegal drug eradication; enhanced consumer protection; creation of a new Office of Victims' Services; elder abuse prosecutions; gun law enforcement; allocations for fighting high-tech crime; and, school safety efforts.

"Crime In Selected Jurisdictions, January through September 1999," is the second preliminary look at crime statistics for 1999 and compares crime counts for six major offense categories during the first nine months of 1998 and 1999 for 75 jurisdictions with populations of 100,000 or more. These jurisdictions represent about 65 percent of the state's population. The preliminary data indicates that in the first three quarters of 1999 violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, decreased by 8.8 percent and property crimes, which include burglary and motor vehicle theft decreased by 18 percent over the same period in 1998. Within these jurisdictions, all categories of crimes tracked by the California Crime Index showed declines.

* Homicides decreased 4.5 percent.
* Forcible rapes decreased 6.2 percent.
* Robberies decreased 13.5 percent.
* Aggravated assaults decreased 6.7 percent.
* Burglaries decreased 20.9 percent.
* Motor vehicle theft decreased 14.3 percent.

"A tremendous amount of credit needs to be given to the men and women who serve on the front lines of law enforcement for these declining crime rates," Lockyer said. But we need to build on our current successes to ensure that crime rates do not increase in the future. California's booming economy presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the necessary steps that will improve public safety for decades to come."

Crime rates have fallen steadily for most of this decade and these preliminary figures indicate that trend continued in 1999. A copy of the Department of Justice report "Crime in Selected Jurisdictions, January - September 1999" can be found at http://caag.state.ca.us/cjsc/.

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