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Report: Violent crimes up in first half of 2021 in San Diego

The report comes at National City police are dealing with a series of burglaries in the past week. At least five businesses in the area were burglarized on Tuesday.

SAN DIEGO — Violent crimes reported in the first half of 2021 increased 14% over the last year and were 9% higher than in 2019, according to a new report by the San Diego Association of Governments' Criminal Justice Research Division.

From January to June 2021, the violent crime rate was 3.64 per 1,000 population, the second-highest over the past 10 years. Compared to this time frame last year, the region has had fewer reported homicides and robberies, but a greater number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

Property crime was also higher in the first six months of 2021, compared to 2020, but was slightly lower than in 2019. During January to June, burglaries decreased, but larcenies and motor vehicle thefts increased. In April, May and June 2021, residential burglaries increased, while non-residential burglaries decreased.

The report comes at National City police are dealing with a series of burglaries in the past week.

Miguel Ruiz owns California’s Taco Shop in National City. Early Tuesday morning, he said surveillance video shows three people breaking into his restaurant. Police say it was one of five businesses burglarized that day. The suspects took about $30 in change and it cost him about $400 to get the window repaired. 

Ruiz said the incident is especially troublesome because some businesses are still trying to survive during the pandemic. 

“It hurts because it’s not just the money. It’s difficult times that we’re going through and just coming over and seeing your place get ransacked,” Ruiz said.

Other notable highlights in the SANDAG report include:

-- While aggravated assaults were up 21% during the past year, those that involved a firearm were up 55%;

-- The number of reported rapes increased 23% from mid-year 2020 to 2021, but were slightly lower than 2019;

-- The number of domestic violence incidents reported regionally increased 5% from mid-year 2020 to 2021; and

-- A greater percentage of burglaries involved forced entry in 2021 -- 57% -- compared to 2019 -- 47%.

"It is important to note that 2020 was an unprecedented year, as people stayed home and some opportunities for some crimes to be committed decreased and others increased," said SANDAG Director of Research and Program Management Cynthia Burke. "As our communities continue to recover, it is critical to highlight the importance of reporting crimes to local law enforcement agencies and to ensure we make resources readily available to those who have been victims of a crime."

The SANDAG report also found that larceny was the most common crime reported to law enforcement, increasing 10% from 2020 to 2021. However, in 2021, larceny was 4% lower than in 2019.

From January to June of this year, 45 hate crimes were reported to law enforcement in the San Diego region, just one shy of the same period in 2020. The most common motive for hate crimes in the region was attributed to race in 2021. Of the 28 hate crimes attributed to race in 2021, a greater percentage involved Asian victims, compared to 2020 -- 18% versus 6% the previous year.

Since 1980, SANDAG has reported crime statistics for the San Diego region through a cooperative agreement with local law enforcement agencies.

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