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Attorney General Lockyer Releases 2001 California Crime Statistics
First Six Months Show Slight Increase in State's Largest Cities and Counties
(SANTA ROSA, CA.) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that preliminary figures show a 1.5 percent drop in violent crime in the state's most populous cities and counties, but a slightly higher increase in property crimes during the first six months of the year, compared to the same time period in 2000. Overall, violent crimes – homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – dropped slightly, but were offset by a 2.9 percent increase in property crimes such as burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.
"Even though crime levels in California remain at a 30-year low, the economy is softening and I think we can expect to see slight increases in criminal activity," Lockyer said. "Unfortunately, that's what we've seen in the past when Californians start losing their jobs. Unemployment goes up, crime goes up."
Lockyer said now is the time to band together to halt further increases. "We must be vigilant and support our men and women in law enforcement in their fight against crime," Lockyer said. "We also need to expand our ability to curb crime by implementing programs that we know work, including helping at-risk youth, getting guns out of the hands of criminals and using DNA science to identify and convict criminals."
The report examines the number of major crimes reported in 75 cities and counties with populations of 100,000 or more, which make up about 65 percent of the state's population. Of those most-populous cities and counties, 44 reported increases and 31 reported drops in the number of crimes from January to June.
Overall, violent crime decreased 1.5 percent, but that was offset by the 2.9 percent increase in property crime. Across the state, law enforcement reported increases in homicides (6.4 percent), robberies (2 percent) and motor vehicle thefts (7.8 percent). Forcible rapes were down by 8.2 percent, aggravated assaults dropped 2.8 percent and burglaries decreased 1.4 percent.
Lockyer announced the preliminary figures while in Santa Rosa meeting with police chiefs, sheriffs and law enforcement officers from Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties. The "zone" meetings are held regularly throughout the state to update local law enforcement agencies about statewide programs and crime trends. In addition, the meetings provide an opportunity to recognize the achievements and heroism of local officers and citizens.
During the meeting, Lockyer discussed the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC). The secure central database was created within the Department of Justice after the September 11 terrorist attacks to help local, state and federal law enforcement officers report, analyze and share information about suspected terrorists and their actions.
Lockyer also updated local law enforcement officials on the state's successful DNA Cold Hit program. As of August, the program has resulted in identifying 59 felony suspects, including 38 since January. In addition, the Attorney General discussed trends in auto and organized retail theft.
The preliminary report, "Crime 2001 in Selected California Jurisdictions, January through June," is available on the Attorney General's web site at http://caag.state.ca.us/cjsc/publications/preliminarys/jj01/jj01.pdf .