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Attorney General Lockyer Releases Final 2001 California Crime Statistics

Violent Crime Rate Dips Slightly in 2001, But Is Offset By 6% Increase in Property Crimes
Thursday, September 5, 2002
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released comprehensive California crime statistics for 2001 which show an increase of 3.7 percent in the overall crime rate when compared to 2000.

The California Department of Justice report, "Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001," and a four-page summary, "Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001 Advance Release," include crimes and arrests reported by law enforcement jurisdictions in the state and adult felony dispositions reported by police, sheriffs, prosecutors and courts.

The report shows that from 2000 to 2001, the California Crime Index (CCI), which includes reported violent crimes of homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and property crimes of burglary and motor vehicle theft increased 3.7 percent per 100,000 population. The rate of violent crime decreased 0.8 percent during that time period.

Other highlights of the reports show between 2000 and 2001, per 100,000 population:

* Homicides increased 5 percent.
* Robberies increased 4.2 percent.
* The forcible rape rate did not change.
* Aggravated assaults decreased 3.1 percent.
* Total property crimes increased 6 percent.
* Burglaries increased 2.6 percent.
* Motor vehicle theft increased 10.2 percent.

Among at-risk populations, the arrest rate per 100,000 was down 2.4 percent from 2000 to 2001. The felony arrest rate for adults decreased 1.7 percent, and the felony arrest rate for juveniles dropped 5.8 percent during the same period.

"After the largest crime rate decrease in California history in 1999, crime has started to increase slightly during the past two years," Lockyer said. "In spite of these increases, today's crime rates are still lower than they were in 1965. But unlike 35 years ago, today's law enforcement agencies have cutting edge technology which allows them to work better and faster at preventing crime as well as identifying and catching criminals."

Programs and systems that have been developed or significantly improved in the California Department of Justice during the last three years include:

* Increasing the number of convicted felon DNA profiles from less than 50,000 to 200,000 in a little more than two years. Coupled with rising law enforcement priorities to re-examine evidence in unsolved "cold cases," this has resulted in more than 100 identifications of suspects whose DNA matched crime scene evidence.
* Development and implementation of Cal-Photo, a statewide photo data bank containing Department of Motor Vehicle and other criminal photo databases that can be searched by law enforcement. Cal-Photo is designed to help police quickly verify the identity of suspects in custody and obtain photos of criminals.
* Improvements to the state's "Megan's Law" in which available information on the identity and whereabouts of registered sex offenders is updated daily rather than monthly and translated in 12 languages, in addition to English.
* Improvements to the statewide database of wanted persons that help law enforcement agencies prioritize their caseloads by providing a listing to the requesting agency of those wanted for the most serious offenses.
* Working with state and local agencies in the development of the statewide CARE Alert for instantaneous broadcast of information on child abductions. The statewide alerts have assisted in the recovery of a number of children in just the past month.
* Improvements to the statewide Domestic Violence Restraining Order database that provides additional information, such as a previous violations of restraining orders, to an officer investigating a domestic situation.

"Some scholars contend that crime rates rise and fall with our economy or in relation to that percentage of our male population in their crime-prone years (18-30)," Lockyer said. "There is no single factor responsible for these trends. We must continue to fight for improved public safety by increasing our ability to prevent crimes, identify criminals and bring them to justice."

"Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001" "and Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001 Advance Release" are available on the Attorney General's website at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/candd/cd01/preface.pdf and http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/advrelease/ad/ad01/ad01.pdf, respectively. The publications contain data reported to the Department of Justice for the calendar year 2001. They display reported crimes and crime rates per 100,000 in population for the periods 1996 through 2001, and compare those rates to 1980, when the crime rate peaked in California.

The reports also include arrest numbers and rates, and adult felony arrest dispositions for 1995 through 2000, as well as links to individual county tables that display crime rates available for each county with a population over 100,000.

Earlier this year, a preliminary crime report was released by the Department of Justice, summarizing crimes reported by 75 jurisdictions with populations exceeding 100,000, which represent about 65 percent of the state's total reported crimes. The "Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001" and "Crime and Delinquency in California, 2001 Advance Release" include crime data from all law enforcement jurisdictions in the state, and are the first to calculate crime rates statewide.

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