Attorney General Bill Lockyer Releases 2004 Homicide In California Report Showing Three Percent Decrease In The Homicide Rate

Males Represented 83.2 Percent Of The Total Homicide Victims

Thursday, November 3, 2005
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) annual “Homicide in California, 2004" report showing homicide crimes decreased 3.0 percent in rate per 100,000 population when compared to 2003. The total number of homicides declined from 2,402 in 2003 to 2,394 in 2004 leaving the total homicide rate at 6.5 per 100,000 population for 2004.

The “Homicide in California, 2004" report details 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. Also included in the report is information on the death penalty, the number of peace officers killed in the line of duty, and justifiable homicides. Additionally, this year’s edition of Homicide in California includes an expanded analysis of domestic violence-related homicides in response to interest in domestic violence data.

“Over the past 10 years, the homicide crime rate has decreased 40.9 percent while California’s population continues to explode,” Lockyer said. “Nearly 60 percent of those arrested for homicide last year were between the ages of 18 and 29, the age group which accounts for more than one-fifth of the state’s adult population.”

Other highlights in 2004 include:

• When the victim-offender relationship was known, 48.5 percent of victims were friends or acquaintances of offenders.
• An average of 5.8 homicides occurred each weekday and 8.4 homicides occurred each weekend day.
• The greatest percentage of males (39.6 percent) were victims of gang-related homicides and the greatest percentage of females (38.7 percent) were victims of domestic violence-related homicides.
• Where the contributing circumstance was known, 42.7 percent of homicides were the result of an argument.
• By the end of 2004, there were 642 persons under sentence of death in California. Of these, 12 were sentenced in 2004.
• Since 1995, there have been 55 peace officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. Four were killed in 2004.

“Every gang-related and domestic violence-related murder we can stop is another life saved, another family preserved,” Lockyer said. “However, law enforcement cannot fight this alone. The Department of Justice is committed to working with local law enforcement agencies and the community to further reduce these heinous crimes.”

In the “Data Tables” section of the report, the number and rate per 100,000 population of homicide crimes are listed by county from 1995 to 2004.

The “Homicide in California, 2004" report is available on the Attorney General’s website at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/homicide/hm04/preface.pdf.

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