SAN DIEGO — Violent crime rose in the first half of the year in San Diego County for the fourth consecutive year, according to a report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments.
According to SANDAG’s Criminal Justice Research Division, the mid-year number of violent crimes in the county was 5,507, up from 5,428 last year, 5,361 in 2016 and 5,330 in 2015. The four-year increase amounts to a 3.3 percent bump in violent crime.
However, reports of property crime fell from 30,447 in 2015 to 27,727 in 2018, a decrease of nearly 9 percent, according to the report.
The mid-year violent and property crime rates in 2018 pale in comparison to those in 2008, when the city received 6,201 violent crime reports and 42,402 property crime reports. The main reason for the 11.2 percent drop in violent crime can largely be traced to a decline in the number of robbery reports made to the city, from 1,969 to 1,346, according to the SANDAG report.
Reported property crimes fell 34.6 percent overall from the 2008 high and show decreases in every category from then to 2018, but the drop is most noticeable for motor vehicle theft, which fell from 10,186 to 4,681, the report found.
Reports of rape have spiked in recent years, reaching a peak of 604 this year, more than double the county’s low of 298 reports in 2011. However, the increase is somewhat deceiving, as California law enforcement broadened the definition of rape in 2015 to include “male victims, sodomy, penetration with any body part or object, and no longer requires force,” according to SANDAG Division Director of Criminal Justice Dr. Cynthia Burke.
“As a result, some crimes that would have been classified as aggravated assaults are now considered rapes and some crimes that would not have been considered violent crimes are now captured in these statistics,” Burke said.
Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. According to the report, San Diego law enforcement has received an average of 30 reports of violent crime and 153 reports of property crime per day during 2018’s first half.