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Countywide Property Crime Reaches Lowest Point In Nearly 40 Years

The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.
Claire Trageser
The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.

Property crime in San Diego County reached its lowest rate in nearly 40 years in 2018, according to a report released Wednesday.

The San Diego Association of Governments' Criminal Justice Research Division studied the county's crime rate from 1980 to 2019 and found that property crimes, including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, declined from 62.63 crimes per 1,000 people in 1980 to fewer than 17 per 1,000 people in 2018.

Property crimes peaked at 67.26 crimes per 1,000 people in 1989. The county's property crime rate has also been at or below the national property crime rate every year since 1994, according to the report.


Burglaries declined countywide in2018 for the sixth consecutive year to 8,267, the lowest number since 1980 when burglaries totaled 38,752.

Larceny was the most common crime in the county last year, totaling 38,642 — up from 37,942 such crimes in 2017, but still well below the 1989 peak of 85,448, according to the SANDAG report.

The county's 2018 violent crime rate remained unchanged from the 2017 rate of 3.41 per 1,000 people. The region's violent crime rate — which includes homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults — peaked at 9.76 per 1,000 people in 1992 and bottomed out at 3.28 in 2014.

"When considering these statistics, it is important to note that while San Diego remains one of safest parts of the country, increased crime numbers may not always be a bad thing if it means better reporting of such crimes as rape or domestic violence," said Cynthia Burke, SANDAG's division director of criminal justice.

The number of reported hate crimes declined from 95 in 2017 to 76 in 2018, according to SANDAG. More than half of reported hate crimes, 54%, were deemed to be motivated by race or ethnicity, while a quarter were motivated by sexual orientation and 21% by religion. Nearly 60% of race-motivated hate crimes were targeted at black residents.


Lemon Grove had the most reported violent crimes in 2018 among jurisdictions within the county at 5.78 per 1,000 people, according to the report. Del Mar had the most reported property crimes with 27.3 per 1,000 people. Coronado had the fewest violent crimes at 0.83 per 1,000 while Poway had the fewest property crimes at 10.14 per 1,000.