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I’ve been researching geographic trends as part of an ongoing project and publishing some of my findings along the way. This week, I wanted to take a look at where people on parole and probation live in San Diego County.

San Diegans often talk about this population while discussing crime hotspots or the impact of releasing more inmates to reduce prison overcrowding. In general, law enforcement officials and residents worry that parolees may return to old habits and commit new crimes.

And as we’ve previously reported, these issues have especially concerned southeastern San Diego residents. Their neighborhoods already have some of the highest concentrations of people on parole or probation. If law enforcement officials release more inmates to reduce prison overcrowding, residents in southeastern San Diego fear they would bear a disproportionate share of the risk.

Though the state implemented a plan to ease overcrowding last year, further reductions may still be possible as the state tries to meet a 2013 court deadline. When statistics through last month showed the state likely won’t meet the deadline, a judicial panel “raised the prospect of letting some inmates out early,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

To better understand the current disparity, check out the map below. It illustrates the concentration of people on parole or probation by zip code. A few important disclaimers:

• The zip code boundaries below were created by the U.S. Census Bureau to correspond to its population estimates. The areas may not perfectly mirror the U.S. Postal Service’s zip codes, but the agency says they come close in most cases.

• The number of people on parole and probation accounts for both adults and minors. The number of people on parole represents an August 2012 snapshot by state corrections officials while the number of people on probation represents a July 2012 snapshot by county probation officials. Both are the most recent available data.

• The map doesn’t display data for zip codes with fewer than 1,000 residents or data for people without a registered mailing address. Together, these two factors exclude 185 of the nearly 22,000 people on parole or probation in the county.

The map shows that while southeastern San Diego bears a disproportionate share of people on parole and probation, it’s not alone in the county. Four regions stand out to me in this map. Let’s examine each briefly.

Interstate 8: You can add the parole and probation population to the numerous ways that Interstate 8 divides the city of San Diego. A few other factors include household income, political registration and race.

Chula Vista: The disparity between eastern and western sections of Chula Vista corresponds to the geographical disparity in household income that we mapped last week. When compared, the two maps show that a higher concentration of people on parole or probation live in the poorer, western areas of Chula Vista.

North County: The coastal part of Oceanside is a stark contrast to its southern neighbors. For instance, there were about 23 people on parole or probation for every 1,000 residents in 92054 (the darkest blue section of Oceanside) and about one person in 92011 (the lightest blue section of Carlsbad).

Dark sections of blue also stretch across the county’s northern border. The biggest swath, 92028, includes Fallbrook and unincorporated communities toward Temecula. Further to the east, you find just a few thousand residents but even higher concentrations of people on parole or probation.

East County: A rural zip code straddling Interstate 8 between El Cajon and Alpine contains one of the highest concentrations of people on parole or probation. Countywide, there were about seven people for every 1,000 residents. In 92021, there were 21.

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

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

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