Mar 29, 2024 - News

San Diego crime dipped in 2023, SDPD says

Photo illustration of a San Diego Police cruiser with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

San Diego saw crime decrease for the second straight year.

Why it matters: San Diego remains among the nation's big cities with the least crime, and its recent declines mirror a national trend after crime surged during the pandemic.

By the numbers: Overall crime in the city — from murder and sexual assault to vandalism and alcohol violations — fell by 2.7% in 2023, the San Diego Police Department announced this week in its annual report.

  • That follows a 7.5% decrease in 2022.
  • Murders fell to 45 last year after reaching 51 in 2022 and 57 in 2021.

Zoom in: According to the 2023 crime report, San Diego posted 16% decreases in both sexual assault and burglary, along with drops of 28.6% in prostitution and 12% in stolen property.

  • Cases of animal cruelty increased 500% — although from a relatively low starting point.
  • Other increases: narcotics violations (up 10%), aggravated assault (5.6%), vehicle theft (3.4%), and curfew, loitering and vagrancy violations (10.5%).

Yes, but: Hate crimes surged 73%, reaching 66 in 2023 from 38 a year earlier.

  • Racial bias accounted for about half of those hate crimes, with anti-Black bias representing the largest share.
  • The number of religion-motivated hate crimes increased from four to 18, with half of those representing anti-Jewish bias.

The big picture: San Diego's violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents was 4.4 in 2023 — much lower than in other metroplexes like Los Angeles (8.1), Phoenix (8), Houston (11), Dallas (7.2) and New York City (7.2).

Friction point: Despite remaining below those other large cities, San Diego's violent-crime rate per 1,000 — its rate of crimes like homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault as a share of the city's population — increased in 2023, from 4.1 in 2022.

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