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Theories considered for drop in crime

REGION — Property crime dropped by 13 percent and violent crime decreased by 1 percent in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period last year, but arsons increased by 21 percent, according to a new SANDAG report.

Sixteen of 19 local jurisdictions experienced decreases in property crime, ranging from a 3 percent drop in La Mesa to a 37 percent drop in Del Mar. This represents a dramatic turnaround compared to a year ago, which saw property crime spike by 5 percent between mid-year 2012 and 2013.

“There are many theories as to why we are experiencing historic drops in crime,” SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Director Cynthia Burke said. “The local law enforcement officials we’ve talked to attribute some of the decreases in property crime to factors such as proactive supervision of ex-offenders, the use of forensic technology to identify serial criminals, and cross-jurisdictional sharing of intelligence to combat crime trends.”

A total of 30,549 property crimes were reported to local law enforcement in the first six months of 2014. There were 216 arsons reported in the region in the first half of 2014, up from 179 in the first half of 2013. Six of ten local law enforcement agencies reported increases.

Other notable crime statistics include:

—  A total of 5,400 violent crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) were reported in the first half of 2014. This translates into an annualized rate of 3.43 per 1,000 residents, down from 3.45 in mid-2013.

There were 38 homicides in the first of half of 2014, a 7 percent decline from the 41 reported in mid-2013. The San Diego region’s homicide rate is relatively low compared to other metropolitan areas.

—  The number of rapes across the region increased to 376 in the first half of 2014, up 20 percent from the 314 that occurred in the same period last year. While assaults on females by serial offenders appear to be on the rise, this large increase does not reflect a trend at this point.

More than half (52 percent) of burglaries at mid-year 2014 involved entry through an open door or window, 34 percent were forced, and 11 percent were unsuccessful.

—  A total of 8,331 domestic violence incidents were reported to law enforcement in the first half of 2014, representing an increase of 4 percent from mid-year 2013.

—  Motor vehicle theft decreased by 12 percent: 5,004 vehicles were stolen in the first half of 2014, compared to 5,655 stolen in the first half of 2013.

The entire mid-year crime statistics report, with data broken down by jurisdiction, is available at