Attorney General Lockyer Releases California Crime Statistics for 2003

Violent crime rate declined 3.4 percent, its lowest level in California since 1973

Friday, September 24, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced the release of the California Department of Justice's "Crime in California, 2003" report which shows declines in violent crime offenses of homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Overall, violent crime offenses decreased by 3.4 percent from 2002 to 2003. Two of the three property crimes, burglary and larceny-theft over $400, decreased this past year compared to 2002. But motor vehicle theft increased for the fourth consecutive year. The 6.7 percent motor vehicle theft caused the overall property crime rate to increase 2.0 percent in 2003.

"These declines are no doubt a result of all the hard work and dedication that the entire law enforcement community in California puts forth to enforce our laws and provide for the safety of California residents," Lockyer said. "It is also the result of the diligence of many neighborhood leaders and community-based organizations who, through their tireless efforts and the positive examples they set, foster an atmosphere that is invaluable in helping to create safer and healthier communities."

Of the seven major crime rate categories, all but one decreased: <ul>
<li>Homicides decreased 1.5 percent;
<li>Forcible Rapes decreased 4.2 percent;
<li>Robberies decreased 3.6 percent;
<li>Aggravated Assaults decreased 3.2 percent;
<li>Burglaries decreased 0.4 percent;
<li>Motor Vehicle Thefts increased 6.7 percent;
<li>Larceny-theft over $400 decreased 0.2 percent.</ul>
In 2003, larceny-theft over $400 was added to the property crime category to give a more representative depiction of crime in California and to correlate more closely to national data. Since the data has only been available since 1983, property crime data from 1983 to 2003 have been adjusted. Previously published property crime data will differ from data provided in "Crime in California, 2003." The California Crime Index (CCI) is also suspended until a new national crime index is established by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The rates of adults arrested for motor vehicle theft increased for the fourth straight year, while the rate for juvenile arrests continued to decline. In 2003, there was a 13.6 percent rate increase in adult arrests and a 6.0 percent rate decrease in juvenile arrests.

Crime in California reports present statistics showing the amount and types of offenses known to public authorities and the administrative actions taken by the criminal justice system. Crime and arrest rates are calculated using annual population estimates. The report, "Crime in California, 2003," is available on the Attorney General's web site at http://www.ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/candd/cd03/preface.pdf.

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