Attorney General Bonta Releases California Criminal Justice Statistical Reports for 2023

Monday, July 1, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the release of the annual Homicide in California, Crime in California, Use of Force Incident Reporting, Juvenile Justice in California, and Crime Guns in California statistical reports. The information contained in the reports reflects statistics for 2023 as submitted by California law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice entities. The reports provide policymakers, researchers, law enforcement, and members of the public with vital statewide information on criminal justice statistics in California to support informed policy choices based on data and analysis, and help protect the safety and well-being of all Californians. In accordance with Assembly Bill 1191 (D-McCarty), the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has released the Crime Gun in California Report, which provides insights on patterns and trends relating to recovered firearms that have been illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime.

“The data released today is essential for understanding, preventing, and combating crime. I encourage local partners and law enforcement to review the data and recommit to taking action,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We must continue to act to combat crime and keep our communities safe. While crime rates remain significantly below their historical highs, there is always more work to be done to protect public safety in our communities. To do so, we must have accountability and appropriate consequences for those who break the law. Accurate statistics and the data in the annual crime reports are a critical part of calibrating our response, ensuring policymakers and law enforcement are able to make informed decisions. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to use every tool in our toolbox to prevent violence and keep our communities safe.”

Each year, DOJ publishes annual reports on various criminal justice statistics in California. While law enforcement agencies across the state are in the process of transitioning to the new data collection system known as the California Incident-Based Reporting System (CIBRS), the format of the information made available in this year’s reports remains consistent with previous years. The ongoing transition to incident-based reporting will ultimately enable law enforcement agencies to collect more in-depth information about specific incidents than previously available in the legacy system that had been in use for decades. 

Through CIBRS, policymakers, law enforcement, and members of the public will eventually have more detailed information, context, and specificity about crime in the state. Law enforcement agencies across California are currently in the process of transitioning to CIBRS. To date, more than 600 reporting agencies have completed the transition and are in the process of becoming certified by DOJ. DOJ continues to work with agencies across the state during this ongoing transition. In the interim, in order to help ensure the annual criminal justice reports remain complete and accurate to the fullest extent possible, DOJ continues to accept data in both the legacy and CIBRS formats. The information made available in this year’s reports is a combination of data collected under both reporting methods. The Attorney General encourages researchers, academics, and all members of the public to analyze the data and use it to help inform public discourse on the state’s criminal justice system. It is important to note that not all agencies were able to submit a full year of data for 2023. Please reference the “Understanding the Data, Characteristics and Known Limitations” section in the Crime in California and Homicide in California 2023 reports for more information.

Key findings from each of the four reports released today and a brief description of their contents are available below:

Homicide in California 2023 provides information about the crime of homicide, including demographic data of 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 include:

  • The homicide rate, defined as the number of homicides per 100,000 people in the state, decreased 15.8% in 2023 (from 5.7 per 100,000 in 2022 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2023).
  • Firearms continue to be the most common weapon used in homicides. In 2023, 72.8% of homicides, where the weapon was identified, involved a firearm.
  • Based on the relationship of the victim to the offender, 48.7% were killed by a friend or acquaintance, 29.5% were killed by a stranger, and 14.8% were killed by their spouse, parent, or child.
  • There were 1,374 arrests for homicide in 2023, a 7.5% decrease from the 1,485 arrests reported in 2022.

Crime in California 2023 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 include:

  • The violent crime rate — i.e., the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people — increased 3.3% from 494.6 in 2022 to 511 in 2023, remaining significantly below California’s historical high of 1,103.9 in 1992.
  • The property crime rate decreased 1.8% from 2,313.6 in 2022 to 2,272.7 in 2023.
  • The total arrest rate increased 3% from 2,535.2 in 2022 to 2,611.2 in 2023.
  • The total number of full-time criminal justice personnel — including law enforcement, prosecutors, investigators, public defenders, and probation officers — increased 0.6%.

Use of Force Incident Reporting 2023 presents a summary overview of use of force or the discharge of a firearm by a civilian, a peace officer, or both, as defined in California Government Code section 12525.2. Some of the key findings include:

  • In 2023, there were 638 incidents that involved the use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death of a civilian or officer, or the discharge of a firearm.
  • In 2023, 658 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:
    • 48.5% were Hispanic.
    • 26.0% were White.
    • 18.7% were Black.
  • In 2022, 1,406 officers were involved in incidents that involved the discharge of a firearm or use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death. Of those officers:
    • 83.9% were not injured.
    • 16.0% were injured.
    • 0.2% died.

Juvenile Justice in California 2023 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 include:

  • Of the 43,085 referrals of juveniles to probation, 50.0% were referred by law enforcement.
  • Of the 32,047 juvenile arrests:
    • 50.1% were for a felony offense.
    • 48.0% were for a misdemeanor offense.
    • 2.0% were for a status offense, defined as acts that would not be classified as crimes if committed by adults.
  • Of those same juveniles, 50.0% were referred to probation.
  • Of the 21,230 juvenile cases that were formally handled by a juvenile court, 50.4% resulted in juveniles being made wards of the court.
  • Of the 48 juvenile cases tried in adult court, 52.1% resulted in a conviction.

Crime Guns in California 2023 provides insight into patterns and trends relating to recovered firearms that have been illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime — also known as “crime guns”— including the leading sources and origins of those firearms. Some of the other key findings include:

  • Approximately 137,400 unique crime guns with identifiable serial numbers were recovered by law enforcement agencies in California and entered in the Automated Firearm System (AFS) between 2021 and 2023. Additionally, approximately 36,000 crime guns were entered in AFS without any recorded serial number over this period.
  • 34,419 of the serialized crime guns entered in AFS over this period could be associated with a total of 1,597 distinct California firearm dealers.
  • While all the identified dealers sold or transferred at least one firearm that was later recovered as a crime gun, 386 dealers were associated with only one crime gun recovered in 2023 and 87 dealers were associated with roughly half of all crime guns recovered in 2023. 
  • On average, each licensed dealer sold or transferred 21.5 firearms that were later identified as a crime gun between 2021 and 2023.
  • The manufacturers associated with the most crime gun records included: Glock; Smith & Wesson; Sturm, Ruger, & Co.; Taurus Forjas; and Springfield.
  • Roughly 65% of crime guns recovered in California had no prior sale recorded in AFS, which may indicate that the guns were purchased illegally or imported into California from another state with fewer gun safety regulations and safeguards, such as background check requirements.
  • Crime guns were recovered by law enforcement in 57 out of 58 counties from 2021-2023.
  • Counties with higher populations tended to have higher numbers of crime guns. However, when accounting for population size, a county’s population size did not appear to have any reliable correlation with its number of crime guns per person. 

The Homicide in California report is available here. The Crime in California report is available here. The Use of Force Incident Reporting report is available here. The Juvenile Justice in California report is available here. The Crime Guns in California Report is available here. The underlying data associated with the annual reports is available on OpenJustice here.

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