Thursday, January 8, 2004
Lockyer:Violent Offenses Down, Property Crime Rate Up in 2003 For California’s Largest Cities
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Attorney General Bill Lockyer yesterday released a report showing that while the crime rate in California’s largest cities rose 2.3 percent over the first nine months of 2003, violent crime dropped, most notably homicides.
“At a time when California is dealing with a budget crisis and our resources are stretched thin, law enforcement has continued to fight back against violent crime,” Lockyer said in a statement. “The significant decrease in homicides shows a positive turnaround and demonstrates the judgment and bravery that make our law enforcement officers everyday heroes.”
The preliminary findings, covering law enforcement agencies serving populations of 100,000 or more, report a drop in all four violent crime categories from the same period in 2002: homicide (down 7 percent), forcible rape (down 2.4 percent), robbery (down 0.1 percent) and aggravated assault (down 3.2 percent). The crimes in these population centers account for approximately 65 percent of the crimes reported in the state.
The largest contributor to the overall rise in crime was motor vehicle theft or attempted theft, which rose 8.2 percent. Burglary rose slightly.
Lockyer downplayed the rise in non-violent crime rates, saying it was typical of difficult economic conditions, and that the decrease in homicides was the most notable feature of the report.
The Los Angeles Police Department reported 394 homicides during the first nine months of 2003, down 21.8 percent from the same period in 2002, while rape reports dropped 3.9 percent and aggravated assaults were down 5.2 percent. Long Beach’s homicide rate dropped 34.5 percent, while Glendale’s violent crime rate dropped 25.2 percent.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported 115 homicides, an increase of 8.5 percent. Jurisdictions reporting a rise in violent crime included Bakersfield, up 48.6 percent; Inglewood, up 35.9 percent; and Downey, up 34.5 percent.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company