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On Oct. 11, the Union Tribune, a local newspaper, published this story detailing a five-week homicide-free streak in the city of San Diego.
The next day, 29-year-old Lee Roy Henderson was shot to death. Two days after that, Mariano Alvarez, a 34-year-old male, was stabbed and killed. Since the story came out, there have been 16 homicides in the city, or an average of almost two a week.
So it’s with some trepidation that I type these words:
There hasn’t been a homicide in San Diego since Nov. 18. That’s two weeks without anyone being killed in the city.
From what I understand about homicide statistics, San Diego’s murder rate is extremely low for a city of this size. I took a look at the Department of Justice statistics for murders in San Antonio and Phoenix, the two cities that are closest in size to our fair city.
In 2005, Phoenix had 220 murders, San Antonio had 86 and San Diego had 51.
San Diego’s had fewer murders that both of those cities since 1994. The number of murders in San Diego dropped significantly between 1992 and 1998, before pretty much leveling off in the last few years. San Antonio has followed a similar trend, though that city has had more murders every year than San Diego since 1988. Meanwhile, Phoenix has seen the number of murders committed double since 1985.
So far, this year, San Diego’s had 63 homicides. But remember, homicides include killings that don’t necessarily become murders.
For example, this year’s 63 homicides include six officer-involved shootings in which the victim died. Officer-involved shooting almost never get classified as murders (documents from the District Attorney’s office, which investigates all officer-involved shootings, show that no officer in San Diego County has been charged with murder for a shooting since at least 2000).
Hopefully, this little bulletin won’t result in a barrage of homicides in the city over the coming days. If it does, however, you can find out the basic details about the homicides on our homicide map.