Attorney General Lockyer Releases Preliminary California Crime Statistics for 2002
First Six Months Show Increase in Crime Led by Spike in Homicides and Car Thefts
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that preliminary figures show crime in the state's most populous cities and counties increased 7.5 percent overall during the first six months of 2002. From January to June, compared to the same period in 2001, the number of violent crimes increased by 3.3 percent and property crimes increased 9.8 percent.
"These troubling figures drive home a painful truth: crime continues to creep up and we must harness our limited resources to stop this growth," Lockyer said. "With the economy still lagging and budget gaps still growing, it is critical that we support officers on the street by continuing to improve and expand programs that get guns out of the hands of criminals and use DNA science to solve crimes and prosecute perpetrators. Also crucial are our efforts to prevent crime by expanding after-school programs for children or providing better access to Megan's Law information so parents may identify sex offenders in their neighborhoods."
Increases were reported for all six major crimes that make up the California Crime Index: homicides (16.0 percent), robberies (9.2 percent), forcible rapes (3.8 percent), aggravated assaults (0.3 percent), burglaries (7.0 percent) and motor vehicle thefts (12.7 percent).
The rates remain lower than they were in 1992, when violent crime peaked in California. Still, Lockyer said he is especially concerned about crime in Los Angeles, Oakland and other cities where violence has helped drive up the state's overall crime figures. For example, figures reported by the largest law enforcement agencies show that there were 113 more homicides between January and June of this year than there were during the first six months of 2001. While some cities reported less homicides, the overall increase is due to hikes in homicides in four of the state's largest eight cities. Los Angeles reported 81 more homicides during the first six months of this year over the same period last year, followed by Fresno with 14 more, Oakland with 13 and Long Beach with 10.
"Local law enforcement agencies and city officials are working hard to find ways to battle violence in their streets," Lockyer said. "While curbing crime always is a daunting task, it is made especially difficult when gang activity is up and the economy is down."
The preliminary report, "Crime 2002 in Selected California Jurisdictions, January through June," examines the number of major crimes reported in 74 cities and unincorporated areas of counties with populations of 100,000 or more, and is not adjusted to account for increases in population. These cities and county jurisdictions report about 65% of the state's crime. Four agencies (San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton and Fremont) did not meet the cutoff date for data submission and were not included in this report, which is available on the Attorney General's web site at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/preliminarys/jj02/jj02.pdf.