California cities see spike in homicides and car thefts in covid


Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco saw significant increases in homicides and auto thefts in 2020, according to California Department of Justice data reviewed by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Los Angeles recorded 332 homicides, a 40% increase from the previous year. Oakland, with 102 homicides, saw a 36% increase. San Francisco recorded 48 homicides, a 17% increase, while San Diego recorded 55 homicides, a 10% increase from the previous year, according to the PPIC.

Auto thefts were up 24% in those four cities, while commercial burglaries were up 26%, although commercial burglaries were actually down 26% in Oakland.

“Commercial burglaries increased significantly in May 2020, coinciding with civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, and declined in early 2021, reaching near pre-pandemic levels,” according to PPIC.

The increase comes despite the fact that, overall, violent and property crime in these cities remains below pre-pandemic levels, according to PPIC.

PPIC notes that violent crime in these four cities saw a significant drop in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although it rose again, reaching pre-pandemic levels in the fall, it has since fallen again, and violent crime was about 12% lower in January and February 2021 compared to those months in 2020. .

State data shows robberies down 13% while aggravated assaults fell 11%, excluding Oakland, which saw a 10% increase in aggravated assaults .

Overall, property crimes saw a notable drop, 17%, in the first two months of 2021 compared to the first two months of 2020. Thefts were down 34%, while residential burglaries were down. fell 6% – except for San Francisco, which saw a 78% increase in residential burglaries.

“It is too early to determine what factors are driving these trends and differences between cities. Crime numbers fluctuate under normal circumstances, and the pandemic has been a very unusual and difficult time. Restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have severely limited in-person interactions. Declines in travel, tourism and restaurant dining, along with a sharp increase in remote working, have likely reduced some crimes,” according to PPIC.

The California Department of Justice will release its official statewide crime statistics later this year.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He covered crime and politics from the interior of Alaska to the oil patch of North Dakota to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Bernard P. Love