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I posted a map Wednesday showing where crime went up or down in San Diego last year. Police reported fewer major crimes in most neighborhoods, but substantially more in a few places like Mission Beach and Hillcrest.

But in City Heights, the map shows more mixed trends. Police reported more crime in the area’s western sections and fewer crimes in its east and south. The map below zooms in for a closer look at that geographic divide.

The tiny neighborhood of Islenair immediately stands out, but don’t worry too much about a spike in crime there. Police reported just six crimes in the neighborhood in 2010 and eight in 2011. That small shift amounts to a 33 percent increase, so Islenair shows up bright red on the map.

Small changes in small places like Islenair can lead to exaggerated conclusions, but that’s not a problem with the bigger neighborhoods in City Heights. Police reported at least 40 crimes in every other neighborhood and that means small annual shifts won’t as greatly affect the percentage.

Overall, the number of crimes in City Heights fell slightly from the previous year and closely resembled how crime changed citywide. The total number of violent crimes (like murder and rape) and property crimes (like burglaries and auto theft) fell by 4 percent across the city in 2011. In City Heights, crime fell by 1 percent.

But dig into those numbers a little more and you’ll find at least one clear distinction. While the number of property crimes decreased by 3 percent citywide, police reported a 4 percent increase in property crimes in City Heights last year. It’s not clear what caused the shift.

Over the next month or so, I’ll be taking a closer look at crime and public safety issues around City Heights in partnership with other local media. Our effort’s called Speak City Heights and you can find all of our coverage at speakcityheights.org.

If you have any suggestions for our coverage, please let me know.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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