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New Fact Sheet: Urban Crime Rates Reach Record Lows Amid Large-Scale Justice Reform

SAN FRANCISCO – May 28, 2020 – A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that urban crime rates have reached record lows amid several major criminal justice reforms, including Proposition 47 and Public Safety Realignment. The report examines FBI crime statistics from the first six month of 2019 in 69 California cities with populations of more than 100,000, comparing them to rates over the previous decade.

Sources: FBI (2020); DOF (2020); DOJ (2020); SAPD (2020). *Full-year figures for 2019 are based on statistics for January-June 2019 that have been pro-rated according to the share of crimes that occurred in the first half of 2018 compared to full-year 2018. **Violent and total crime rates exclude rape because the definition was broadened in 2013, hindering comparisons across this period. Note: Crime rates in this figure include all California cities with populations of 250,000 or greater in 2019, which include Anaheim, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Fresno, Irvine, Long Beach, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, and Stockton. These 14 cities comprised nearly 40 percent of California’s urban population in 2019. The City of Los Angeles is excluded because of substantial underreporting of Part I offenses prior to 2016. Crime statistics for Santa Ana were not included in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for January-June 2019 and are based, instead, on full-year statistics reported by the Santa Ana Police Department.

 The fact sheet finds:

  • The total urban crime rate in California declined by 10.4 percent in early 2019 compared to the first half of 2010. During this period, property crime rates fell by 9.9 percent and violent crime declined by 13.5 percent.
  • The early 2019 urban crime rate is the lowest in recent history. Crime has remained low amid large-scale criminal justice reform, which includes reduced penalties for certain drug and property offenses and expanded parole opportunities for those in state prison.
  • Local crime trends vary across cities, with most of California’s 69 large cities seeing declines in crime rates from early 2018 to early 2019. Overall, 45 cities reported decreased total crime rates during this one-year period, and 24 cities showed increases. Crime rates vary widely across localities, suggesting that differences in crime are influenced by city- and county-level approaches to public safety rather than statewide policies.

Read the full fact sheet >>

Contact: For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or cjcjmedia@cjcj.org.

Keywords: AB 109, crime rates, crime trends, FBI, Mike Males, Prop 47, Prop 57, Public Safety Realignment, Realignment, urban crime

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