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LA MESA -- The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) released its annual comparative crime report Wednesday and La Mesa, like the region itself, has experienced an uptick in crime, led mostly by an increase in property crimes.
Overall crime totals were up 11 percent in La Mesa year over year, but still remained near historic lows.
In 2012, both violent and property crime rates in the San Diego region increased for the first time since 2001 and 2003, respectively, according to the SANDAG annual regional crime report.
The violent crime rate (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) rose 7 percent to 3.77 per 1,000 residents, while the property crime rate (burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft) rose 6 percent to 22.15.
The number of homicides across the region saw the greatest one-year increase: 107 homicides were reported in 2012, a 30 percent increase from 2011. La Mesa, which traditionally has few homicides, experienced two in 2012.
Over the past 30 years, homicides in the San Diego region peaked at 278 in 1991 and decreased fairly steadily to 86 in 1998. Since then, the number has fluctuated, but has not dropped below 67 (in 2010) or exceeded 130 (in 2003).
The annual report, Thirty Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1983 through 2012, compiles crime data from all 18 cities and the unincorporated areas of the county. The report serves as an important tool for local law enforcement agencies to track public safety trends over time and gauge the effectiveness of enforcement strategies and crime prevention programs.
“Despite the recent upswing in crime, it is important to remember that the rates we are seeing today are still among the lowest in the past 30 years,“ said Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG director of criminal justice research. “However, with that said, we are continuing to closely monitor the trend reversal and factors that may be contributing to it. In the past few years, there have been significant cuts in resources for crime prevention and other law enforcement efforts. In addition, recent legislation has put new strains on law enforcement by shifting an increasing number of offenders and ex-offenders from state supervision to local supervision.”
Other interesting facts in this year’s report include:
-- In 2012, there were 11,838 violent crimes reported to law enforcement in the San Diego region. The most common type was aggravated assault, which represented two-thirds (66%) of all violent crime in 2012; robbery represented 27 percent, rape 6 percent, and homicide 1 percent.
-- With 69,613 property crimes reported in 2012, one in every 45 residents was the victim of a property crime, a rate still lower than it was five years earlier (when it was one in 36 in 2008).
-- The total number of robberies reported across the region increased 5 percent, with upticks in all of the location types except bank robberies, which decreased 22 percent from 2011 to 2012.
-- While the number of robberies with a firearm only increased 1 percent over the past year, the number of aggravated assaults with a firearm increased by 27 percent.
-- There were a greater number of residential burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts in 2012, compared to 2011. The only exception was non-residential burglaries, which decreased 5 percent.
Over the past ten years, the percentage of stolen property recovered has decreased from 46 percent to 21 percent, possibly reflecting changes in technology and the ease of disposing stolen property, as well as priorities of law enforcement to focus on violent crime with limited available resources and changes in how this information is compiled and reported.
-- At mid-year 2012, national violent and property crime rates were also up, compared to 2011, but to a lesser degree than in the San Diego region. Increases were greater in the western region of the United States, but large California cities did not have increases consistently larger than other western cities.
CLICK HERE to read the full report.