SAN DIEGO — Overall crime in San Diego increased 13% in 2021 compared to the previous year, new data released Tuesday by San Diego police shows.

Six of the seven categories of crime, divided into violent and property crimes, saw an increase to the previous year, according to SDPD data. The six crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and vehicle theft.

For violent crimes:

  • Murder increased 1.8% in 2021 with 57 incidents, compared to 55 in 2020.
  • Rape increased 17.7% in 2021 with 571 incidents, compared to 485 in 2020.
  • Aggravated Assault increased 16.9% with 4,156 incidents, compared to 3,556 in 2020.

For property crimes:

  • Burglary increased 2.1% in 2021 with 3,393 incidents, compared to 3,324 in 2020.
  • Theft increased 12.7% in 2021 with 18,075 incidents, compared to 16,044 in 2020.
  • Vehicle Theft increased 24.5% in 2021 with 6,165 incidents, compared to 4,953 in 2020.

Although other crime categories experienced a rise in cases, robbery was down 9.6% in 2021 with 1,091 incidents, compared to 1,207 in 2020.

“Police departments across the nation are combatting rises in crime, and although San Diego historically ranks as one of the safest big cities, our City is also seeing an increase in crime,” Nisleit said. “Despite the challenges facing our department this year as we address reductions in staffing, SDPD remains committed to responding to calls for service, using intelligence-led investigations to catch criminals, and doing proactive police work to prevent crime.”

Meanwhile, police said hate crime reports increased by 77% in 2021. Also this year, SDPD, in conjunction with LGBTQ and API businesses, helped establish the Safe Place Program for victims of hate crimes.

Nisleit said Tuesday that we must realize the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has been “difficult on everybody,” and he believes it’s partially responsible for the spike in violent crime.

“We’ve all been thinking about this for quite some time – is it COVID? I think it is,” Nisleit said. “I think that’s part of it, right? It’s COVID. It’s people being out of work. It’s kids being out of school, just the anger and the frustration levels of everything over the last two years.”

When compared to other large U.S. cities. annually, San Diego continues to maintain one of the highest clearance rates and one of the lowest homicide rates.

“In 2021, SDPD added a sixth homicide investigation team and a new ghost gun investigation team to increase the department’s ability to locate criminals and get illegal firearms off San Diego streets,” the police department stated in Tuesday’s press release.

SDPD asked for the public’s help to work with police in combatting the rise in crime and violence by reporting suspicious activity, assisting in investigations and helping create safer communities for all.

FOX 5’s Kelsey Christensen contributed to this report.