Hate crimes drop by 16% in San DiegoAround the City Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Crime rates in San Diego increased in all categories in 2012 as compared with 2011 with the lone exception of hate crimes, which decreased by 16.7 percent overall.
The number of hate crimes due to sexual orientation went down from 18 in 2011 to 11 in 2012 which was a 31.4 percent drop, according to the report by Police Chief William Lansdowne.
Lansdowne and Assistant Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman spoke about the statistics to the City Council’s Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee Feb. 13. They gave reasons for the crime increases, but didn’t have one for the decrease in hate crimes.
In 2011, there were 18 incidents of hate crimes associated with a victim’s sexual orientation, which for the first time exceeded the number of incidents involving a victim’s ethnicity. In 2012, there were 18 hate crimes based on ethnicity of the victim.
There were six reported instances in 2012 of hate crimes involving a person’s religion, for a total of 35 hate crimes in 2012 as compared to 42 in 2011. It’s not necessarily a significant drop, except of course to victims who don’t experience being assaulted.
The committee focused on the increase in violent crimes in 2012 which included a 23.7 percent rise in murders, 10.4 percent increase in aggravated assaults, 4.2 percent in robberies, and 3.8 percent increase in rapes over 2011.
“I think it’s a trend,” said Lansdowne.
“What do you need, Chief?” asked 6th District Councilmember Lorie Zapf.
“Cops do matter,” said Lansdowne, adding that there are 150 less officers on the streets today and that is the main reason for the increase in crimes in most categories.
Lansdowne and Zimmerman told the committee the retirement and transfers of San Diego Police officers to other law enforcement agencies with better health and retirement benefits and salary, is the main reason the force loses nine officers per month.
There are now 1,829 sworn officers, but in 2003 there were 2,137, said Zimmerman. There are funded, vacant positions for trained officers that are left when officers either retire or move on to another law enforcement agency.
Zimmerman said the police academy trains cadets to become officers but some of them leave to go to work for another police agency. She said the department spends $191,785 to train a new officer and that investment goes down the drain when the rookie chooses another agency.
Lansdowne also said the increase is due to a state decision sending inmates to local county jails in order to save money and some of those felons are released. He said that many offenders drink alcohol before committing a crime.
The report says the increase in murders includes almost a doubling of gang violence with drive-by shootings. There were also murder-suicides within families in 2012. But the City has had much higher homicide rates in the past, with many years having more than 100 slayings.
There were 47 murders in 2012 as compared with 38 in 2011. There was also a 6.7 percent increase in property crimes including burglary, theft and vehicle thefts. A very small increase of .07 percent occurred in domestic violence cases.
Despite the increases, Lansdowne told the committee, “The crime rate is very low for a city of our size.”
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=34554