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The number of murders is down 22 percent in San Diego for the first nine months of 2007 compared to the same time period last year. The number of rapes in the same period is down 17 percent, the number of robberies is down 3.6 percent and the total number of crimes is down 2.4 percent.

San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and Mayor Jerry Sanders were all smiles when they announced the latest crime figures this morning.

Police Chief William Lansdowne is pleased with the latest round of crime statistics Photo: Sam Hodgson

“This is another indication that the community’s working very closely with the police officers and civilian personnel,” Sanders said. “This is a trend that we have seen going on for quite some time in San Diego and it shows that the community won’t tolerate violent crime.”

Lansdowne attributed the drop in crime numbers to a concerted effort by the mayor and City Council to invest in the police department. The raise his troops received earlier this year has helped boost morale, he said, as has the council’s continued investment in technology for the department.

The dropping crime numbers will help him make the case for continued support and possibly more raises for San Diego police officers, Lansdowne said. A study commissioned by the city last year showed that San Diego police officers made significantly less than their counterparts in other local agencies.

“I know I have the commitment of the mayor and the council,” Lansdowne said. “If we can justify the costs, I think we’ll meet the needs, and we’ll continue to do that.”

“It’s very important to show results for what they paid for,” Lansdowne added, “and I think it’s easy to relate the two.”

On police officer recruitment, Lansdowne and Sanders were both quick to conclude that the crisis is not over yet. Lansdowne pointed to swelling academies and Sanders praised the work of the recruitment team at the department, but both acknowledged that the city needs to keep its recruitment efforts at full-speed to help backfill for several years of officer attrition.

Property crime in the city also dropped from last year, by 1.6 percent, but the total number of burglaries citywide increased by 3.5 percent. The full crime statistics are here.

WILL CARLESS

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