Another demographic trend of note is the decline of the homicide rate. Last year the state attorney general reported it was at its lowest level since 1966. Violent crimes are down as well. Figures from the state’s largest jurisdictions reported in 2010 showed a decline of 9.8 percent homicides from the year before.
Violent crimes were down 6.4 percent, according to statistics compiled by 89 agencies. Motor vehicle theft dropped 7.2 percent and arson dropped 15 percent.
Statistics for 2011 are not available yet.
Less than 30 percent of the homicide victims were killed by strangers. Most were killed by friends or acquaintances. And 70.5 percent of the deaths were by gunshot.
If you watch the news it seems like a lot of homicides are gang related. You would probably guess right.
Here is what Attorney General Kamala Harris said in her press release last year about the declining crime rate:
“Hispanics were homicide victims far more often than whites. African-Americans or members of other ethnic groups … accounted for 46.6 percent of all homicides in 2009.”
Also, according to Harris, “Gang-related homicides claimed more male victims than any other factor (46.23 percent). Domestic violence claimed more female homicide victims (41.3 percent). Homicide victims under the age of 5 overwhelmingly died of child abuse (almost 90 percent.)”
The declining homicide and violent crime rate follows the same pattern as the declining school enrollments — an aging population. We believe the three strikes law is having an effect as well by keeping the violent criminals in prison.