Local homicide rate spikes in first half of year - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local homicide rate spikes in first half of year

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - While overall crime rates in the San Diego area continued to decline, the number of homicides reported in the region in the first half of this year was up 65 percent compared with the same period in 2010, according to a report released Friday.

Between January and the end of June, a total of 51 slayings were reported in the county, 20 more than during the first half of last year.

The rates of violent offenses and property crimes, conversely, were both at 10-year lows during the first six months of this year, according to the San Diego Association of Governments study. At 3.3 incidents per 1,000 people, the 2011 mid-year violent crime rate was down 8 percent from 2010.

Decreases were reported in three of the four violent-crime categories - rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

"Overall, violent crime has continued its downward trend," said Cynthia Burke, SANDAG director of criminal-justice research. "The continuing decline of crime here is consistent with what is happening in the rest of the country."

The mid-year property-crime rate was also at a 10-year low, down 11 percent from 2010. Compared with the same period in 2010, larcenies dropped by 8 percent and burglaries by 13 percent, while vehicle thefts fell by 19 percent.

Other findings in the report include:

- A total of 5,320 violent crimes, including homicides, robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults, were reported to local law enforcement agencies in the region between January and June of this year -- an average of about 30 per day.

- Analysis of data on 41 of this year's homicide cases in which motive could be determined revealed that about one-quarter were gang-related, compared with 18 percent in 2010.

- The number of rapes reported across the region dropped for a third straight year, by 12 percent, and the number of robberies declined for a fourth consecutive year, by 14 percent. Both figures represent 10-year lows.

- A total of 30,998 property crimes were reported to local law enforcement agencies in the first half of 2011. Sixty-three percent were larcenies, 20 percent burglaries and 17 percent auto thefts.

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