The number of homicides in San Diego County last year was slightly lower than any other year in the same decade. Still, 91 people were killed and most of them were in the city of San Diego.

Of the 1,269 homicides handled by the County Medical Examiner’s Office in the last decade, the records for 56 cases remain sealed at the request of law enforcement, including 11 from last year. The office also reported handling about 80 cases where the homicide occurred outside of the county, according to data we obtained from the medical examiner. Neither the sealed cases nor the non-San Diego County cases are included in the statistics.

The remains of at least five people have not been identified. That includes two people found at a San Ysidro horse ranch last year, a man found on a Carlsbad roadway in 2005, a woman found in an El Cajon dumpster in 2003 and a woman found at a San Diego parking lot in 2000.

The deadliest months in the last decade were June and September 2003 with 17 people killed across the county in each month. And 2003 was a particularly bad year with 14 people also killed in the months of March, May, August and October. The county never went one month without a homicide in the decade and it averaged about 10 each month.

The most common place for the event of a homicide — or at least where investigators suspect the fatal blow occurred — was a street. These are some more unusual places listed as the location of at least one homicide: a casino, a trolley station, a hospital, Qualcomm Stadium, the Boardwalk Amusement Park and a Masonic Lodge.

Among ethnicities, Hispanic-Mexican was the most common among homicide victims, accounting for about 440 victims, or one-third of the total. There were about 380 white victims, 245 black and 110 other or unknown.

Among age groups, the highest concentration homicide victims are young adults. Here’s the graphical breakdown of victims by age group, but keep in mind that the county’s population is predominantly older than 25.

Lastly, I created a map of where every homicide happened to show a better picture of how neighborhoods compare across the county. About 90 of the cases could not be mapped because the location of the homicide is unknown. Other cases have less specific information or don’t identify the exact location. The mapping software plots these cases along a nearby road, but the marker’s location may not represent the location of the homicide.

Still, here’s a picture of the county. You can search this map, click on each homicide marker and find more information by following this link.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.