Crime on the rise in county’s biggest cities

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crimeSAN DIEGO — Violent crime increased in four of the six largest cities in San Diego County during 2012, when compared with the prior year, while property-related crime rose in all but one, the FBI reported Tuesday.

The statistics, compiled in the federal agency’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, show that El Cajon was the only local city with a population above 100,000 to experience decreases in both major categories of criminal offenses.

Among violent crimes, the FBI includes murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The property-crime grouping tracks burglary, larceny and auto theft.

In the city of San Diego (population 1.34 million), the violent-crime rate rose 8.33 percent last year, as compared with 2011, and property offenses increased 6.7 percent, according to the report.

In Chula Vista (pop. 249,830), violent crime decreased 13.28 percent between the two years, while property crime went up by 1.48 percent. Oceanside (pop. 171,141), meanwhile, saw its violent- and property-crime rates rise by 17.42 percent and 11.43 percent, respectively.

In Escondido (pop. 147,386), violent and property crimes increased by 26.87 and 21 percent, respectively, while in Carlsbad (pop. 107,879) those figures went up 26 percent and 7 percent, according to the FBI.

El Cajon (pop. 101,864), conversely, saw decreases in both categories for 2012 — down 31 percent for violent offenses, and 2 percent lower for property crimes.

Nationwide, there was an increase of 1.2 percent in the number of violent crimes and a decline of 0.8 percent in property crimes in 2012, as compared with the previous year, according to the FBI.

The report was based on data from 13,770 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 months’ worth of numbers for both years.

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