Following national trends, the number of violent and property crimes continued to decline in San Diego County during the first half of the year, according to monthly crime statistics posted online by local law enforcement agencies.

Compared to the same six-month period last year, agencies reported an 8 percent drop in violent crimes and a 3 percent drop in property crimes. Compared to the same period in 2008, violent crime was down 6 percent and property crime was down 20 percent.

The trend has baffled criminologists, who generally support an inverse relationship between crime and the economy. (As the economy declines, crime goes up.) But crime rates have continued to fall since 2008 despite the recession and high unemployment.

The graphic above shows the statistical drop since 2008, with a few highlights. (Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.)

Both property and violent crimes have recently started to climb in the county. Crime is traditionally higher in the summer months, when children are out of school and more people spend time outdoors.

Compared to the rest of the county, San Diego Police reported a smaller drop in violent crimes and a larger drop in property crimes during the first half of the year. Outside the city, violent crime fell by 11 percent and property crime by 2 percent. Inside the city, violent crime fell by 5 percent and property crime by 4 percent.

In 2009, the Sheriff’s Department reported a 7 percent increase in violent crime from the previous year, bucking countywide trends. On the campaign trail earlier this year, Sheriff Bill Gore’s challengers used the statistic to question his management. The new crime statistics show a different trend within the Sheriff’s jurisdiction, with violent crime down 12 percent compared to the first six months of 2009.

For more information about crime within your neighborhood, check out this online crime map. If you find an interesting trend, let me know with an e-mail to keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org.

— KEEGAN KYLE

Rob Davis

Rob Davis was formerly a senior reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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