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Attorney General Lockyer Releases Statewide 2003 Crime Statistics

Violent Crime Down Slightly From 2002; Property Crime Inched Up
Tuesday, July 6, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released comprehensive California crime statistics for 2003 that showed a decrease in violent crime of 3.4 percent and in increase in property crime of 2 percent when compared to 2002.

The California Department of Justice report, "Crime in California, 2003, Advance Release," provides a summary of crimes and arrests reported by law enforcement agencies in the state, and adult felony disposition reported by police, sheriffs, prosecutors and courts.

The report shows that 2003 violent crime rates dropped 48.4 percent from 1992, the peak year for violent crime during the past two decades. Property crimes in 2003 dropped 42.1 percent from 1989, when property crimes hit an all-time high during the past 20 years.

"As state and local governments struggle with limited resources, our peace officers continue to do a herculean job in protecting our communities," Lockyer said. "The combination of tight budgets, a sour national economy and increasing populations will require law enforcement to do more with less and rely heavily on high-tech tools to keep our streets safe. Putting Megan's Law on the Internet so that more people can help law enforcement protect their neighborhoods is a start. So is expanding our DNA Felon Database to help solve criminal cases."

The report shows that rates of homicides per 100,000 people decreased 1.5 percent from 2002 to 2003. Other crime rates that showed a decrease were forcible rape, -4.2 percent; robbery, -3.6 percent; aggravated assault, -3.2 percent; arson, -4 percent; and burglary, -0.4 percent.

The largest increase in crime rates occurred in motor vehicle theft, which rose 6.7 percent. Showing a slight increase from 2002 to 2003 was larceny-theft (0.3 percent).

Arrest rates showed a 1.2 percent increase from 2002 to 2003. That rate marks a 39.5 percent decrease over 1989, when arrests rates peaked during the past two decades.

Felony arrests increased 2.1 percent from 2002 to 2003, but were down 30.4 percent since 1989. In 2003, adult felony arrests were up 3.1 percent, and juvenile felony arrests were down 4.2 percent over 2002 rates.

"Crime in California, 2003 Advance Release" is available on the Attorney General's website at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/advrelease/ad/ad03/ad03.pdf

The report is published annually by the Department of Justice to provide data submitted by criminal justice agencies. The report includes crime numbers and crime rates per 100,000 in population for the years 1998 through 2003. It also compares statewide crime and arrest rates from 2002 to 2003, and from 1989 to 2003. In addition, crime data for each county is included and statewide felony arrest dispositions are reported.

The more extensive report, "Crime in California, 2003," will be published later this year.

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