Attorney General Lockyer Releases State Crime Statistics for First Nine Months of 2002

Report shows overall increase in number of crimes in largest cities and counties

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(OAKLAND) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that preliminary figures show crime in the state's most populous cities and counties increased 5.3 percent overall during the first nine months of 2002. From January to September, compared to the same period in 2001, the number of violent crimes increased slightly, 0.8 percent (929 more reported violent crimes), while property crimes increased 7.9 percent (15,629 more reported property crimes). Lockyer released the figures during a speech at the California Police Chiefs' Association 2003 conference in Oakland.

Increases were reported for five of the six major crimes that make up the California Crime Index: homicides (13.1 percent), forcible rapes (2.6 percent), robberies (4.5 percent), burglaries (5.1 percent) and motor vehicle thefts (10.8 percent). Aggravated assaults dropped 1.3 percent during that period.

"Despite recent advances in technology and science that have made law enforcement more efficient and helped solve thousands of cases in California, we continue to experience an increase in crime," Lockyer said. "As policymakers grapple with lean budgets and shrinking resources, we can not afford to turn our back on law enforcement as they fight back against this increase in criminal activity. California must continue to support law enforcement and programs that find and convict criminals and prevent violence."

Although the numbers of crimes reported by the larger cities and counties are significantly lower than 11-years ago when violent crime peaked in California, Lockyer said he is especially concerned about the rise in homicides. More than half of the selected jurisdictions reported fewer homicides, yet there were a total of 164 more homicides reported by the largest law enforcement agencies during the first three-quarters of 2002 than during the same period of 2001.

"There is vigorous debate about the causes of crime increases, but there is no question that the current recession and large increase in California's crime-prone population of males between the ages of 18 and 30 are not helping," Lockyer observed. "In order to bring peace to our streets we must pay special attention to the increase in gang activity and homicides, especially in light of recent spikes in Oakland and Los Angeles."

The preliminary report, "Crime 2002 in Selected California Jurisdictions, January through September," examines the number of major crimes reported in 78 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. The report is available on the Attorney General's web site at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/ninemorpt/js02/rpt.pdf .

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