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Crime, Especially Homicide, Declines in California Cities in First Half of 2023

Highly misleading postings in conservative media are claiming that violent crime is falling in law and order” Florida while skyrocketing” amid California’s culture of lawlessness” (Colton, 2023). In addition, California’s own news media feature claims that violent and overall crime continues to rise in the state (Walters 2023). While these claims may have been accurate in 2022 as the state was rebounding from a pandemic and a year of record-low crime (2021), this is not true for the latest 2023 numbers.

Both property and violent crimes fell in the first half of 2023.

The FBI has just released figures for 2023 from 48 major CA cities with a total population of 14 million people. These numbers, typically used to predict overall state crime trends, show both property and violent crimes fell in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022 (Table 1).

Sources: DOF (2023); FBI (2023); LAPD (2023).

Of the 48 cities reported, 35 showed declines in overall, Part I crime[1], 35 in violent crime, and 35 in property crime. Thirty of 38 cities reporting homicides showed declines. Major declines occurred for murder and rape, smaller decreases for larceny/​theft, robbery, and aggravated assault, and small increases for burglary and motor vehicle theft. Trends in the City of Los Angeles, which include data from the first nine months of 2023, are largely the same but differ for several crimes.

Oxnard showed the largest drop in Part I crime (down 58%), while Oakland showed the largest increase (up 25%). On average, the 35 cities in Democrat-voting counties in 2022 had larger declines in and lower rates of violent crime and homicide in 2023, while the 13 cities in Republican-voting counties had larger declines in and lower rates of property crime (SOS 2022).[2]

Finally, recent claims by the Heritage Foundation in conservative media (i.e., Fox News, 2023) that Republican-governed Florida enjoyed falling violence while Democrat-governed California suffered rising violent crime from 2019 through 2022 are grossly misleading (see Males, 2023). Fewer than half of Florida’s police jurisdictions (compared to 98% of California’s) reported crime numbers to the FBI in 2022, rendering Florida data incomplete and unusable (FBI 2023). Comparisons of the only full-year data available (CDC, 2023) show that Florida suffered much higher levels of homicide, including gun murder rates 33% higher, than California in 2022 – 23, and both states had increased homicide from 2019 to 2023

Blaming liberal” District Attorney policies for crime levels and trends ignores both facts (Florida’s rural areas, heavily governed by Republicans, suffer higher murder and gun violence rates than California’s large cities, including Los Angeles, governed by Democrats) and logic (local economics and police crime clearance practices influence crime numbers far more than DA policies). Unfortunately, partisan distortion of important crime issues continues to plague media and policy forums to the detriment of reasoned discussion.

[1] The FBI defines Part I crime as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/​theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
[2] These changes are based on FBI tabulations for urban areas of 100,000 population or more and population-adjusted rates. They are available from CJCJ by city and offense.

Unfortunately, partisan distortion of important crime issues continues to plague media and policy forums to the detriment of reasoned discussion.


California Department of Finance (DOF). (2023). Demographic Research Unit. Estimates. At: https://​dof​.ca​.gov/​f​o​r​e​c​a​sting….

California Secretary of State (SOS). (2022). Statement of vote. Governor by county. At: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.g….

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2023). Mortality statistics. At: https://​won​der​.cdc​.gov/​m​c​d-icd….

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (2023). Crime data explorer. Crime. At: https://​cde​.ucr​.cjis​.gov/​LATES…. Arrests. At: https://​cde​.ucr​.cjis​.gov/​LATES….

Colton, E. (October 30, 2023). Florida crime trending down while California skyrockets explained by one key difference: expert. Fox News. At: https://​www​.foxnews​.com/​u​s/flo….

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2023). Crime Data Explorer. Quarterly Uniform Crime Report data. At: https://​cde​.ucr​.cjis​.gov/​LATES….

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). (2023). Compstat citywide profile. At: https://lapdonlinestrgeacc.blo….

Males, M. (November 14, 2023). Right-wing comparisons of violence in law’n’order” Florida vs, lawless” California are 100% phony, Daily Kos. At: https://​www​.dai​lykos​.com/​stori….

Walters, D. (July 9, 2023). Annual crime report shows Californians’ fear of increasing crime is justified. Calmatters. At: https://​cal​mat​ters​.org/​c​o​mment….