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San Diego's Crime Rate Drops 1.3% in 2019, Lowest Among Nation's 10 Largest Cities

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.
Milan Kovacevic
San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

Crime decreased in San Diego by 1.3% in 2019 which city leaders Friday credited to a "landmark contract agreement" and aggressive recruitment efforts to bolster the San Diego Police Department.

San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said that while homicides increased from 2018 to 2019, all other violent crimes — including sexual assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults — declined.

Violent crime was down nearly 3% while property crimes such as burglaries, thefts and vehicle thefts were also down, Nisleit said.


San Diego's 2019 violent crime rate was comparable to rates it experienced in the 1970s, while the property crime rate statistics are comparable to rates it experienced in the late 1950s, Nisleit said.

According to a statement from the city, four people out of 1,000 were the victim of violent crime in 2019, while 19 people out of 1,000 were the victim of a property crime.

San Diego had the lowest violent crime rate per 1,000 residents among the nation's 10 largest cities, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

Faulconer said one element to lowering crime was the 2017 contract agreement between the city and the San Diego Police Officers Association, which resulted in salary increases that made SDPD pay more competitive with other state law enforcement agencies.

Faulconer also credited a "very aggressive marketing campaign" undertaken to attract recruits from across the nation, leading to the largest police academy class sizes "in more than a decade," he said.


Jack Schaeffer, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, the union representing the department's rank-and-file officers said, "The landmark agreement gave SDPD the necessary resources to rebuild itself into a robust organization that can meet the demands of a growing population and continue focusing on its number one priority — keeping all San Diegans safe. This report showcasing a decline in overall crime reinforces what we already knew: these investments continue to bring a tremendous return to the benefit of all San Diegans."

Faulconer said the announcement was scheduled as a preview of the San Diego Association of Governments' annual "Crime in the San Diego Region" report, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

SANDAG recently released a county-wide crime report showing that larceny crimes such as car break-ins have decreased roughly 25% in San Diego County in the past two months, amid stay-at-home orders brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

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