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After San Diego banned alcohol from its beaches three years ago, alcohol-related crime steadily fell in most beach communities and climbed most everywhere else in the city.
I examined that trend in this story last week and a few readers have since asked for more information about alcohol-related crime in their neighborhoods. I also wanted to provide an illustration of citywide alcohol-related crime and why it’s unusual compared to other markers of crime in San Diego.
First, a little background. Police include 72 offenses in the broad category of alcohol-related crime. Drunken driving, open container and underage drinking are some of the most common. The category is primarily monitored by police who patrol bar districts, restaurants or special events, but outside that circle, it’s not routinely reported to the public.
The main markers of crime trends in San Diego are violent and property crime. Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. When a police officer, politician or news anchor says crime is up or down, they are most likely talking about one or both of these categories.
Since the early 1990s, the general theme of crime in San Diego and across the nation has been decline. San Diego police reported 29 murders last year, the lowest since the early 1960s and since 2005, property crimes have dropped by 33 percent.
But alcohol-related crime has been on the rise in San Diego, I learned after requesting six years of data from police. In contrast to the steep decline of violent and property crime, alcohol-related crime grew in four of the last five years.
And interestingly, it’s unclear why. When I asked police about the trend last week, they didn’t know exactly what’s changed. Before the beach ban in 2008, before the economic collapse the same year, before police started doing DUI checkpoints again in 2009, alcohol-related crime was already climbing.
If you have any insight to share about the rise of alcohol-related crime, please add your thoughts to the comments section below or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to figure out this puzzle.
OK, so onto the neighborhood-level data. Below, you’ll find a lengthy list of neighborhoods and alcohol-related crime statistics. Prepare to scroll! The pre-beach ban period covers 2005 through 2007 and the post-ban period covers 2008 through 2010. I’ve added two fields to help you gauge the change.
One caveat: The neighborhood names correspond to police beats, which don’t perfectly follow the neighborhood boundaries used by city planning officials. If you’re not sure which neighborhood you live in, check out these maps.