California's Violent Crime Rate Falls for Third Consecutive Year

LOS ANGELES - Praising the "dedicated and courageous efforts" of local law enforcement officials, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today released the California Department of Justice's annual crime report for 2009, which continued the promising trend of declining crime rates in California, including a 6.6% reduction in the state's violent crime rate.

"This latest drop in crime," Brown said, "is good news for Californians and reflects well on the dedicated and courageous efforts of peace officers throughout the state. Yet it is no cause for complacency. Crime remains a serious problem in California, and law enforcement officials at every level must redouble their efforts to ensure public safety."

"Crime in California 2009 - Advance Release" is compiled by the California Department of Justice based on data reported by police and sheriff's departments in all of California's 58 counties.

The 2009 figures, drawn from crime reports, show that crime rates have declined in every category of offense measured, from homicide (-8.9%) and robbery (-8.6%) to motor vehicle theft (-15.8%) and arson (-14.3%).

In fact, last year's drop marked the third consecutive year in which violent crime (-6.6%), property crime
(-10.1%), and larceny and theft (-6.5%) rates have all declined. Almost 20,000 fewer violent crimes were committed in 2009 than in 2006.

Overall, since statewide crime peaked in 1992, crime rates in all three categories have been cut in half - the rates have tumbled -58.9% for violent crime, -51.7% for property crime, and -48.5% for larceny and theft. In total, more than 1.4 million arrests were made in California in 2009, down from more than 1.9 million 20 years ago.

Driving the downward trend were California's five largest counties, all of which recorded significant crime rate declines from 2008 to 2009:

- Los Angeles: violent crime (-9%), property crime (-11%), and larceny and theft (-3.3%)
- San Diego: violent crime (-2.2%), property crime (-22.5%), and larceny and theft (-14.2%)
- Orange: violent crime (-3.6%), property crime (-10.5%), and larceny and theft (-3.7%)
- Riverside: violent crime (-13.4%), property crime (-12.4%), and larceny and theft (-11%)
- San Bernardino: violent crime (-4.5%), property crime (-11%), and larceny and theft (-8.7%)

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