Crime up 5.8 percent in most populous areas

The Associated Press
Tuesday March 26, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Crime in California’s most populous cities and counties rose 5.8 percent in 2001, and homicides rose more than 9 percent, according to preliminary state figures released Monday. 

Property crimes rose 8.2 percent, propelling much of the increase, according to the report released by Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Motor vehicle thefts were up 11.9 percent and burglaries rose 4.9 percent. 

Despite the homicide rate, violent crime overall was up just 1.7 percent. The most common violent crime, aggravated assault, was down less than a percentage point, while robberies rose 7.2 percent and rapes were unchanged. 

Lockyer said that while crime has fallen sharply in California over the last decade, “it is never good news when there is a year-to-year increase.” He called for more crime-prevention programs, continued support for law enforcement and more work to get guns out of criminals’ hands. 

The report lists the number of major crimes in 75 cities and unincorporated county areas with populations of 100,000 or more. Together they account for about 65 percent of California’s crime. 

Crimes, as measured by the California Crime Index, saw the most dramatic rises in Daly City and San Diego County, at 22.6 percent and 21.1 percent, respectively. Increases greater than 15 percent also were posted in Berkeley, Downey, Fresno, Norwalk and Sacramento. 

Violent crime in the Orange County city of Costa Mesa rose 41.8 percent, largely because the number of robberies more than doubled. But unincorporated areas of Orange County recorded 15.4 percent fewer crimes last year. 

There were declines of more than 5 percent in Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Clara, Thousand Oaks, Ventura and the counties of Alameda, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus and Tulare. 

Crime in unincorporated Los Angeles County fell 5.4 percent — including a 14.9 percent drop in violent crime — even as the city of Los Angeles saw a 5.2 percent increase. 

“It’s very difficult to find any kind of trend,” said Lockyer spokeswoman Hallye Jordan.