Last year shows increase in auto thefts, rapes; decrease in homicides, according to San Diego crime statistics
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 05/24/19 - 08:21 AM | 3470 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last year, 35 homicides occurred in the City of San Diego – tying the same number of murders that took place in 2017, according to crime statistics that were reviewed by the City Council on May 20.

Contrast that with 1991 when 167 murders were committed in San Diego, according to city records, which is the all-time high. 

Seventh District Councilmember Scott Sherman told Police Chief David Nisleit that 35 homicides were "very low" for a major city like San Diego. "Chicago could do that in a week."

First District Councilmember Barbara Bry looked up Chicago's statistics during the meeting and said Chicago had accumulated 530 murders within the last year.

Fifth District Councilmember Mark Kersey asked the police chief if future crime reports could include the crime rates in comparison to other large cities. Nisleit said he would do that.

Council President Georgette Gomez noted the report was informational only, so no vote was taken.

Nine homicides took place in 2018 in Point Loma, Old Town, and Midway District, according to the report, which listed them from the police department's Western Division. Two murders occurred in Pacific Beach.

Chris Haley, a crime analyst and the manager of information services for the police department, told the Council that San Diego is "the safest big city in the United States." Haley said some of the crime rates easily compare to rates in the 1950s.

The report states 21 of the 35 homicides involved a firearm, which is 60 percent of the total. In 2017, 13 murders involved a firearm, which is 37 percent of the 35 slayings.

There were 605 rapes and sexual assault reported in 2018, which is an 8.2 percent increase over 2017 when 559 were reported. The 605 rapes were the highest number ever reported in the city.

Vehicle thefts increased in 2018 by 47 thefts citywide to total 5,182 cars that were reported stolen. The report says 653 cars were taken in La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, University City, and parts of Clairemont.

There were 606 vehicles stolen in Ocean Beach, the Midway District, Point Loma, and Hillcrest, according to the report from the Western Division.  There were no statistics about bicycle thefts.

Forty-one hate crimes were reported in 2018 – tying the same amount as in 2017. Twenty-two hate crimes were reported as occurring to the victim's ethnicity, with 13 happening due to perceived sexual orientation. Six were committed against someone due to their religion.

Domestic violence cases dipped by 4.4 percent. Police said 6,823 cases occurred as compared with 7,139 domestic violence complaints in 2017. The report said 174 knives were used in 20.8 percent of the cases as compared with 37 firearms in 2018.

The reasons homicides keep decreasing vary. Most officials like to credit passage of the three strikes law in the late 1990's in which an offender who gets a third violent felony will receive a 25 years to life sentence in prison.  

Advancements in medicine and increased response time to wounded victims can also account for less homicides.

The lowest number of murders in San Diego since 1950 occurred in 1953 when seven people were killed, according to city records. San Diego's population was then listed as 445,000.

Not a single report for rape was made from 1950 to 1957, city records show. That was roughly 65 years ago, when sexual assault was just not talked about very much.

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