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New Report: Lowest California Crime Rate in Recorded History

SAN FRANCISCO – September 9, 2020 – A fact sheet released today by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that California’s crime rate fell by 3 percent in 2019 from the year prior, reaching its lowest level since the state began compiling these statistics 50 years ago. Crime rates have continued to fall 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.

As California and the nation reckon with ongoing and historic harms caused by the justice system, declining crime trends offer an opportunity to consider steps toward inclusive community safety. These data offer an important reminder that crime is falling, not rising, which has persisted through an era of progressive policies and substantial reinvestment in communities.

California crime rates*, 2010-2019

California crime rates drop by 12 percent from 2010 to 2019.

*Total and violent offense rates exclude rape because the definition was broadened in 2014, hindering comparisons
across this period.

The fact sheet finds:

  • Statewide crime rates fell by 12 percent from 2010 through 2019, including a one-year decline of 3 percent from 2018 to 2019. Over the past decade, California jurisdictions reported reductions in most major crime types, including burglary (-38%), larceny/theft (-3%), and robbery (-16%).

  • Crime declines accompany a period of transformational criminal justice reform, including the passage of Public Safety Realignment, Prop 47, Prop 57, and Prop 64. Despite initial concerns that these law changes would boost crime, most communities were safer in 2019 than at the start of the decade.

  • Approximately 70 percent of California counties experienced crime declines from 2010 through 2019. Variation across counties indicates recent crime trends likely reflect local practices and conditions far more than state 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: crime trends, Prop 47, Prop 57

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