Violent Crimes, Property Crimes, and Sexual Assaults Dropped in California’s Largest Cities Between 2019 and 2020

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California Crime Rate Drops

While Republicans continue to try to oust CA Governor, Gavin Newsom, we’re digging into their claims about the state of the Golden State to find the acts.

Today, we look at crime. Claims by Larry Elder and other candidates, paint a picture of California where criminals are running free and nobody is safe. Well, the facts don’t support it.

Did violent crimes increase in California after Newsom was elected?
No. In fact, violent crimes declined almost 3% during the first year of Governor Newsom’s term.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “California’s violent crime rate decreased by 2.9% to 430 per 100,000 residents between 2018 and 2019.”

This follows a broader trend of declining crime rates in California.

Did violent crimes go up after Democrats were elected?
No. In fact, violent crimes and property crimes are down over 12% since 2010.

According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, “Statewide crime rates fell by 12 percent from 2010 through 2019, including a one-year decline of 3 percent from 2018 to 2019. Over the past decade, California jurisdictions reported reductions in most major crime types, including burglary (-38%), larceny/theft (-3%), and robbery (-16%).”

California Crime Rates 2018-2019

Opponents of Newsom like to point out the increase in crime during the pandemic. This was a national trend but in California’s cities with over 100,000 residents, violent crimes actually went down.

The California Law Revision Commission reviewed FBI data to see how crime rates were affected by the Pandemic and compared it with the national average.

California Pandemic Crime Rates

While other cities across the country saw increases between 2019 and 2020, California saw declines in violent crimes, rapes, robberies, and assaults. They also saw declines in property crimes, burglary, and larceny.

MVT (motor vehicle / traffic) crimes went up above the national average while murders went up far under the national average.

What about San Francisco and Los Angeles?

These two cities are common punching bags. So let’s see how they faired during the 2020 lockdowns.

Did violent crimes increase in San Francisco in 2020?
No. Violent crimes dropped 20-50% during 2020 when compared with 2019 according to the San Francisco Police Departments Crime Dashboard.

Burglary, motor vehicle and arson crimes increased while larceny decreased almost 40%.

In Los Angeles, America’s second-most populous city, the Los Angeles Times reported an increase in homicides. In fact, that increase takes the city to levels not seen since 2007. But overall crimes in Los Angeles still declined during that period.

The Conclusion

The narrative that “crime is out of control” in California is simply not supported by the facts. California’s crime rates are down 40% since their highs in 1992 and while the rest of the country saw rapid increases during the 2020 lockdowns, California cities faired better and saw declining crime rates in most categories among their largest cities.

With a few exceptions such as Los Angeles’ seriously troubling murder rate increases, overall California’s crime numbers are trending down.


Fact Sources:

Public Policy Institute of California

“Preliminary data from four major cities (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco) indicate some types of crime rose during the pandemic, though overall crime rates remain historically low as of fall 2020. ”


Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

“Crime declines accompany a period of transformational criminal justice reform, including the passage of Public Safety Realignment, Prop 47, Prop 57, and Prop 64. Despite initial concerns that these law changes would boost crime, most communities were safer in 2019 than at the start of the decade.”


California Law Revision Commission
“The overall violent crime rate (the sum of homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) in California’s large cities fell slightly between 2019 and 2020. The overall property crime rate (the sum of burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft) declined by nearly 10 percent in these cities.”


SF Police Department
“The SFPD Crime Dashboard is used to view San Francisco crime data for specified periods. It is available to the general public and users are given the capability to apply filters and compare year-to-year statistics of all Part I crimes.”


Los Angeles Times - LA Times

“California’s 2019 homicide rate was the lowest since 1966, and rates of violent and property crime in 2019 generally were among the lowest since the 1960s, four experts from UC Berkeley’s California Policy Lab said in a related review focusing on cities with more than 100,000 people.”


ABC News

From ABC 7/ ABC News affiliate, “While overall crime decreased in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of murders increased by 20% this year compared to 2019, according to a report released Monday.”

California Crime Rate Drops

Updated on Sep 11, 2021

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