California’s Crime Rate Falls to a Record Low in 2020, High Reliance on Incarceration not Linked to Lower Crime

SAN FRANCISCO – September 9, 2021 – A report released today by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice analyzes trends for eight Part I felonies included in the FBI’s index of crimes. The report finds that California’s overall crime rate fell by 6 percent in 2020 from the year prior, reaching its lowest level since the state began compiling these statistics more than 50 years ago.

While 2020 shows certain concerning trends, crime rates have fallen steadily over the past decade amid major criminal justice reforms, including some that reduced prison and jail populations and lessened penalties for low-level offenses.

California incarceration (prison plus jail), violent offense, and property offense rates per 100,000 population, 2000 to 2020

The fact sheet finds:

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