The majority of murders in the county each year happen in the city of San Diego. Considering the city includes nearly half the county’s population, that’s not surprising.

But how often police agencies across the county actually solve murders within their jurisdiction varies greatly, and that caught my eye while researching this story about an uptick in cold case investigations.

Police consider a murder solved once they believe they have definitely identified the offender. It doesn’t necessarily mean the suspect has been arrested or charged with a crime, but it’s a statistical standard used by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

OK, now let’s check out the data.

The first graphic ranks each law enforcement agency in the county by the ratio of new murders to solved murders in the last decade. National City and Chula Vista stand out as solving a low number of murders. Escondido, compared to cities with a similar number of murders, stands out near the top.

The second graphic compares the San Diego Police Department’s ratio over the last decade to the combined ratio of all other agencies. The rate can be higher than 100 percent since solved murders can include cases from previous years, as my story on cold cases heating up described. Notably, it shows a constant rise over the past few years in how often police solve murders. San Diego is separated from the group because it showed some of the steepest gains.

If you have any insights to share about why the rate of solving murders varies in each jurisdiction, please post them in the comments section. You can also contact me by sending an email to


Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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