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Attorney General Lockyer Releases Statewide Homicide Statistics for 2003

Friday, September 17, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released the Homicide in California, 2003 report showing homicide crimes decreased 1.5 percent in rate per 100,000 population compared to last year's rates. From 2002 to 2003, the number of homicide victims increased slightly (0.4 percent). However, due to a larger increase in the number of persons living in California during this period, the homicide rate per 100,000 population decreased slightly (1.5 percent).

Homicide in California, 2003 contains information about the crime of homicide and its victims, demographic data on persons arrested for homicide, and information about the response of the criminal justice system. Information about the death penalty, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty, and justifiable homicide also is included. Additionally, this report includes an expanded analysis of domestic violence-related homicide in response to growing interest in domestic violence issues.

Highlights of the report include: <ul>
<li>From 2002 to 2003, the number of homicide victims killed by friends or acquaintances decreased 9.4 percent. The number of victims killed by strangers also decreased 14.0 percent. The number of homicides where the relationship between the perpetrator and victim was "unknown" increased 14 percent.
</li><li>In 2003, almost 25 percent of all female homicide victims were killed by their spouses. In contrast, less than 1.5 percent of male victims were killed by their spouses.
</li><li>Of the 35 counties for which 2003 homicide rates were calculated, Los Angeles County experienced the highest rate per 100,000 population (10.5); Marin County experienced the lowest (0.0).
</li><li>In 2003, 33 percent of homicides were gang-related; a decrease of 2.5 percent from 2002.
</li><li>From 2002 to 2003, homicide arrests decreased 2.9 percent in rate per 100,000 population at risk.
</li><li>By the end of 2003, there were 639 persons under sentence of death in California. Of these, 22 were sentenced in 2003.
</li><li>Since 1994, there have been 60 peace officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. Six were killed in 2003.</li></ul>
"In the past decade, the number of homicides has decreased 35 percent while the number of California residents has grown by almost 4 million," Lockyer said. "California's 80,000 law enforcement officers have done a commendable job in holding the thin blue line against homicide and other violent crimes, despite budget deficits and ballooning population figures."

The Homicide in California, 2003 report is available on the Attorney General's web site at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/pubs.htm.

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