The State of California’s Department of Justice, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced on Friday the release of four annual crime reports for the state. This data was released to promote transparency Department of Justice officials said. Each year, the complete information from the previous year will be released showing crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adults placed on probation, full-time criminal justice personnel, citizens’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence-related calls for assistance, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted.
The calculations are all rates per 100,000 population. Violent and property crime rates increased while robbery and aggravated assault, arrests, driving under the influence and felony arrests all decreased. Vehicle theft also increased by nearly 11% and arson also increased by around 2%. With the felony arrests down, the misdemeanor rates increased by 10% which can possibly be attributed to the reclassification of prop 47 crimes. Proposition 47 was passed by voters during the November 2014 elections and reduces certain drug possession and theft related crimes to misdemeanors.
The 2015 arrest rates are the lowest since 1969 with a total of 1,158,812 state-wide. Alarmingly assaults on peace officers have increased by 10% and there was a nearly 16% increase in aggravated assaults with a firearm.
The homicide rate increased slightly in 2015 from 4.4 to 4.8 per 100,00. A total of 1861 were murdered in the state last year. Although there was an increase, compared with data in the past decade, 4.8 would not be considered notably high with 2006 being high at 6.9 and the low being 4.4. The vast majority of murder victims were men, with men being nearly 83% of those murdered and women being the remaining 17%. Hispanics are the majority of those who are the victim of murder. Of the murders, 163 of these were justifiable with 130 of these being committed by peace officers and 33 by private citizens. There was an approximate 9% increase of the homicides with firearms from 2014, with over 70% being committed using a firearm in 2015.
It may come as a surprise, but juvenile arrests have been on a downtrend for this now being the seventh year straight. They are now at the lowest rate ever, the State Department of Justice officials said. There were 71,923 juvenile arrests made in 2015 with nearly 60% being misdemeanor offenses. Of the juveniles arrested 53% were Hispanic/Latino, 22% were white and 19% were black.
Hate crimes are on the rise with an over 10% increase in 2015. There were 837 reported, The State Department of Justice attributes the increase to “religious bias”. These crimes include sexual orientation, racial. (anti-black hate crime accounts for the largest percentage of these crimes), and religious accounts for around 23% (with around 11% of these, anti-Jewish).
In 2015 nearly 67% of the adult felony arrests ended in conviction, the State of California Department officials said.
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