Attorney General Becerra Releases 2019 California Criminal Justice Statistics Reports

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Highlights two new dashboards to help increase the accessibility of state criminal justice data 

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today released five annual reports — as well as two new data dashboards — that provide the public with statewide data on criminal justice statistics in California. The reports, as well as the data behind each report, can be accessed via OpenJustice, a data-driven initiative that embraces transparency to strengthen trust, enhance government accountability, and improve public policy in the criminal justice system. The information contained in the publications reflects statistics for 2019 as submitted by California law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice entities. In addition, the new dashboards announced today provide an in-depth look into use-of-force statistics from 2016 through 2019 and hate crimes in California over the last two decades.

“The need for change in our criminal justice system has become clearer than ever,” said Attorney General Becerra. “And conversations about the direction we take as a state only stand to benefit from the reports and information released today. Policy is always stronger when it is rooted in the facts. At the California Department of Justice, we will keep doing our part to promote access to the data that supports the critical work being done by legislators, academics, journalists, and other members of the public across California.”

The criminal justice reports and supporting data published by the California Department of Justice provide key findings, data visualizations, and downloadable datasets. These reports are updated annually on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice website. Attorney General Becerra encourages researchers, academics, and interested parties to analyze the data and use it to help inform public discourse on the state’s criminal justice system. 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 reports released today are:

In addition to the reports, the California Department of Justice is releasing new dashboards on hate crime and use-of-force statistics. The hate crime dashboard examines state- and county-level statistics by bias motivation type, crime type, and location. The use-of-force dashboard takes a look at incidents involving uses of force by a peace officer against a civilian that resulted in serious bodily injury, death, or the discharge of a firearm and breaks that information down by a number of factors, including gender, race, age, and the level of injury that was sustained.

Key findings from each of the five criminal justice statistics reports released today and a brief, partial description of their contents are available below:

Crime in California 2019 presents statewide statistics for reported crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adult probation, criminal justice personnel, civilians’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence-related calls for assistance, anti-reproductive-rights crimes, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. Some of the key findings from 2018 to 2019 include:

  • The homicide rate decreased 4.5 percent;
  • The robbery rate decreased 4.5 percent;
  • The motor vehicle theft rate decreased 9.6 percent;
  • The total adult and juvenile arrest rates decreased by 3.5 percent and five percent respectively; and
  • The total number of adults on active probation was 199,313 — its lowest since 1984.

Hate Crime in California 2019 presents statistics on hate crime events, hate crime offenses, victims of hate crimes, and suspects of hate crimes. The report does not include data on hate incidents. Hate crimes are distinct from hate incidents, which are actions or behaviors motivated by hate that are protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents include name-calling, insults, and distributing hate material in public places. If a hate incident starts to threaten a person or property, it may become a hate crime. This report also provides statistics reported by district and elected city attorneys on the number of hate crime cases referred to prosecutors, the number of cases filed in court, and the disposition of those cases. Some of the key findings from 2018 to 2019 include:

  • Hate crime events decreased 4.8 percent from 1,066 to 1,015;
  • The number of suspects of reported hate crimes decreased 11.5 percent from 1,093 to 967;
  • Hate crime events involving a racial bias overall decreased 12 percent from 594 to 523;
    • Anti-black or African American bias events fell from 276 to 243, a decrease of 12 percent;
    • Anti-Hispanic or Latino bias events fell from 149 to 110, a decrease of 26.2 percent;
  • Hate crime events involving a religion bias increased 3.5 percent from 201 to 208;
    • Anti-Jewish bias events rose from 126 to 141, an increase of 11.9 percent;
    • Anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias events fell from 28 to 25, a decrease of 10.7 percent; and
  • Hate crime events involving a sexual orientation bias decreased 2.1 percent from 238 to 233.

Homicide in California 2019 provides information about the crime of homicide, including demographic data on victims, persons arrested for homicide, persons sentenced to death, peace officers feloniously killed in the line of duty, and justifiable homicides. Some of the key findings from 2018 to 2019 include:

  • Homicides fell from 1,739 to 1,679, a decrease of 3.5 percent;
  • In 2019, 80.2 percent of homicide victims were male and 19.8 percent were female;
  • When the victim-offender relationship was identified:
    • 45.1 percent were killed by a friend or acquaintance;
    • 32.9 percent by a stranger;
    • 16.4 percent by their spouse, parent, or child;
  • Of the homicides where the victim’s race / ethnicity was identified:
    • 44.2 percent were Hispanic;
    • 28.6 percent were black;
    • 19.8 percent were white;
    • 7.5 percent were of another race / ethnic group; and
  • Firearms have continued to be the most common weapon used in homicides. In 2019, of the homicides where the weapon was identified, 69 percent involved a firearm.

Juvenile Justice in California 2019 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. Some of the key findings from 2018 to 2019 include:

  • Over one-half of the juveniles (52.9 percent) were arrested for a misdemeanor offense, over a third (37.7 percent) were arrested for a felony offense, and the remainder (9.4 percent) were arrested for a status offense;
  • The number of juvenile arrests decreased by seven percent from 2018 to 2019 — and, of those arrested, eight out of 10 (81.4 percent) were referred to county juvenile probation departments;
  • Nine out of 10 juveniles referred to county probation departments (90.5 percent) were referred by law enforcement agencies — and, of those referred to county probation, three out of 10 (31.5 percent) were detained;
  • Over one-third (35.5 percent) of the juvenile cases referred to county probation departments were closed at intake, indicating that no further action was taken; and
  • Of the juveniles handled formally by the juvenile court, six out of 10 (60.6 percent) were made wards of the court — and, of the juveniles tried in adult court, 75.6 percent were convicted.

Use of Force Incident Reporting 2019 presents a summary overview of use of force and discharge of firearm incidents involving a peace officer, as defined in Government Code section 12525.2. Some of the key findings include:

  • In 2019, there were 703 incidents that involved use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death of a civilian or officer; or the discharge of a firearm. Of those incidents:
    • 48.4 percent occurred during a call for service;
    • 18.5 percent occurred while either a crime was in progress or while officers were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances;
    • 13.5 percent resulted from a vehicle / bike / pedestrian stop;
  • In 2019, 738 civilians were involved in incidents that involved the discharge of a firearm or use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death. Of those civilians:
    • 44.6 percent were Hispanic, 28.5 percent were white, and 19.5 percent were black;
    • 66.7 percent were injured, 12.5 percent were not injured, and 19.9 percent died; and
  • Of the 1,638 officers in incidents that involved the discharge of a firearm or use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death, 15.6 percent were injured, 84.2 percent were not injured, and 0.2 percent died.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to improving public safety and the criminal justice system by advocating for reforms across the state and working with cities to implement new policies. Last month, Attorney General Becerra laid out an agenda for sweeping policing reforms and called on law enforcement statewide to immediately develop and implement policies on a number of recommendations on use-of-force. He also launched a review of the Vallejo Police Department that will result in the development of a comprehensive policing plan in an effort to modernize and reform the police department's policies and practices, and increase public trust. In addition, the Attorney General sent a letter — in support of a broader effort by state attorneys general — urging Congress to expand the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to give state attorneys general clear statutory authority under federal law to investigate and resolve patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing. Last year, Attorney General Becerra released a report providing the Sacramento Police Department with recommendations to help guide reform efforts on use-of-force policies, training, and practices. The Attorney General also entered into an agreement with the Stockton Unified School District and its police department to address system-wide violations of the civil and constitutional rights of African American and Latino students and students with disabilities. 

The reports announced today are available here.

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