Attorney General Becerra Releases 2016 California Crime Reports

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Four updated reports published: Crime in CA, Homicide in CA, Juvenile Justice in CA, and URSUS: Use of Force Incident Reporting

Reports highlight statewide crime data that promotes transparency, including statistics on crime, homicide, juvenile matters and use-of-force

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the release of four annual crime reports, which provide law enforcement agencies and the public with statewide data on crime statistics.

The reports released are:

“In California, we strive to improve public trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are sworn to protect by opening lines of communication,” said Attorney General Becerra. “A necessary part of the discussion is knowing the facts and having the data to inform the creation of effective plans to advance sound criminal justice policies. At the California DOJ, we know access to information is important to building trust and promoting transparency. That is why the four reports published today, along with the data sets on OpenJustice, are critical elements in strengthening the bond between Californians and their law enforcement agencies.”

The annual criminal justice reports and supporting data published by the California Department of Justice provide key findings, data visualizations, and downloadable digital datasets. These reports are updated annually on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice website. Attorney General Becerra encourages researchers, academics and interested parties to further analyze the data. The information from each report can be accessed via the Attorney General’s OpenJustice website.

Crime in California 2016 presents statewide statistics for reported crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adults placed on probation, full-time criminal justice personnel, citizens’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence related calls for assistance, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted.

  • The violent crime rates per 100,000 population increased 4.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, but the property crime rate decreased 2.9 percent.
  • From 2011 to 2016, the robbery and burglary rates decreased 3.8 percent and 22.0 percent respectively.
  • The 2016 total arrest rate, including adults and juveniles, per 100,000 population at risk is 4 percent lower than the 2015 total arrest rate. Population at risk is defined as a portion of the total population who, because of like characteristics to the specific study group, are considered "at risk".
  • In 2016, the total adult arrest rate decreased 3.1 percent and the total juvenile arrest rate decreased 15.2 percent per 100,000 population at risk.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the total felony arrest rate decreased 2.6 percent and the total misdemeanor arrest rate decreased 4.4 percent per 100,000 population at risk.

Homicide in California 2016 includes demographic data about homicide victims, persons arrested for homicide, persons sentenced to death, peace officers feloniously killed in the line of duty, and justifiable homicides.

  • The homicide annual rate slightly increased in 2016 (from 4.8 to 4.9 per 100,000 population); a total of 1,930 homicides in 2016 compared to 1,861 in 2015.
  • Over the past decade the homicide rate ranged from a high of 6.2 homicides per 100,000 population in 2007 to a low of 4.4 in 2014.
    • In 2016, 83.1 percent of homicide victims were male and 16.9 percent were female.
    • Nearly half (48.9 percent) of the female victims were killed in their residence.
    • The largest proportion of victims has consistently been Hispanic.
    • Firearms have consistently been the most common weapon used in homicides. In 2016, of the homicides where the weapon was identified, 71.9 percent involved a firearm.
    • There were 142 justifiable homicides reported in 2016; 102 committed by a peace officer and 40 committed by a private citizen. This represents a decrease from the 163 justifiable homicides reported in 2015.

Juvenile Justice in California 2016 provides insight into the juvenile justice process by reporting the number of arrests, referrals to probation departments, petitions filed, and dispositions for juveniles tried in juvenile and adult courts.

  • There were 62,743 juvenile arrests reported by law enforcement agencies in 2016, down nearly 13 percent from 2015.
  • In 2016, there were 77,509 juvenile cases handled through the probation department, of which 40,569 were referred to and decided by the juvenile court.
  • Of individuals handled formally by the juvenile court, 62.8 percent were made wards of the court.
  • There were 376 juveniles whose cases were decided in adult court in 2016. Of these, 77.1 percent were convicted.

URSUS: Use of Force Incident Reporting 2016 presents a summary of use of force and discharge of firearm incidents that were reported to the California Department of Justice.  Use of force and discharge of firearm incidents are defined in Government Code section 12525.2.

  • In 2016, there were 782 incidents that involved use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death, or the discharge of a firearm.
    • Of the 782 reported use of force incidents, 328 involved the discharge of a firearm.
  • In 2016, there were 832 civilians and 1,729 officers involved in the incidents reported.

By driving research, reporting, and conversation, OpenJustice can help Californians better understand how the criminal justice system shapes various aspects of their lives, from safety, housing, education, health, and family, to economic opportunity. The launch in September 2015 of the Attorney General’s OpenJustice website established California as a leader among US states in criminal justice transparency. Additionally, the OpenJustice Data Act of 2016 (Assembly Bill 2524), effective January 1, 2017, designated the Attorney General’s OpenJustice website as the public repository of all crime data contained in the four annual publications, thereby making OpenJustice a key government resource for Californians wishing to learn about their criminal justice system. 

A complete copy of the reports can be found online: https://openjustice.doj.ca.gov/resources/publications.

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