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Attorney General Lockyer Releases Report Showing Significant Decline In Reported Violent Crimes

Data Show 4.8 Percent Drop for Violent Crimes, 1 Percent Hike for Property Crimes
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released preliminary data that show the number of reported violent crimes in the state’s most populous cities and counties dropped by 4.8 percent in 2004, while reported property crimes in those communities inched up 1 percent.

“The violent crime numbers show that technological advances and the development of stronger crime-fighting tools throughout California have helped make our children, families and communities safer,” said Lockyer. “But the real credit goes to the hard-working, dedicated law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day. It’s important to stress that the good news provided by the overall numbers could be better. We must remain vigilant in our effort to make all of our communities freer from crime.”

The Preliminary Report - Crime in 2004: January through December compares preliminary crime figures for January through December 2004 with final counts for 2003. The report covers 79 law enforcement jurisdictions that serve populations of 100,000 or more. Those areas account for roughly 65 percent of all reported crimes in California.

The data show that the number of reported offenses declined for three of the four measured violent crimes in 2004, compared to 2003: 2.6 percent for forcible rape, 4.4 percent for robbery and 5.2 percent for aggravated assault. The number of reported homicides, meanwhile, increased 1.4 percent.

The overall 4.8 percent decrease in reported violent crimes is the largest such reduction shown by preliminary data since 1999, when the figure was 8.8 percent below the 1998 number. In subsequent years, the preliminary figures on reported violent crimes were: 1.7 percent increase in 2000; 1.7 percent increase in 2001; 0.1 percent decrease in 2002; and 3.1 percent decrease in 2003.

Small increases in motor vehicle theft (2.6 percent) and larceny-theft over $400 (0.4 percent) contributed to the slight overall jump in the number of reported property crimes (1.0 percent) in 2004, according to the preliminary data. Burglary was the only property offense that saw a decrease (0.2 percent) from 2003.

Arson, categorized in the report as neither a violent or property crime, experienced a substantial drop in the number of reports, according to the preliminary 2004 statistics. The arson number fell 7.4 percent from the 2003 figure.

The reported homicides in the selected jurisdictions in 2004 totaled 1,808, compared to 1,783 in 2003. Other crime category changes include:

# Forcible rape: 2004 - 6,097; 2003 - 6,261
# Robbery: 2004 - 45,565; 2003 - 47,682
# Aggravated assault: 2004 - 85,653; 2003 - 90,364
# Burglary: 2004 - 142,574; 2003 - 142,839
# Motor Vehicle Theft: 2004 - 158,534; 2003 - 154,564
# Larceny-theft over $400: 2004 - 130,242; 2003 - 129,744
# Arson: 2004 - 8,833; 2003 - 9,542

A copy of the Preliminary Report - Crime in 2004: January through December is available on the Attorney General’s web site at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/preliminarys/jd04/jd04net.pdf

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