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Hate crimes surged last year in San Diego, as well as overall crime

SDPD presents annual crime stats to city council.

SAN DIEGO — Hate crimes were up last year nearly 77% in San Diego. The spike was part of a 13% overall crime increase for 2021 in the city, according to a SDPD report presented to the city council.

The dramatic jump in hate crimes targeted victims mainly for their ethnicity or sexual orientation, the report said.

Moreover, Police Chief David Nisleit said he believes hate crimes are under reported in San Diego.

“I don’t think we’re getting all of our hate crimes reported. We need to make certain that we are reporting all hate crimes, even hate incidents,” said Nisleit.

“The reality is homophobia is still impacting us, from micro-aggressions all the way up to hate crimes described in this report,” said District Two City Councilmember, Jennifer Campbell.

Credit: SDPD

The chief also said San Diego continues to see crimes involving gangs and ghost guns, with 24% of the guns seized by SDPD officers having no serial numbers.

“This past Sunday late afternoon we had a shooting over at the Paradise Valley rec center where a ghost gun was found,” said Nisleit.

Nisleit said the department currently is 120 officers short of its budgeted strength, and he is working on adjusting staffing policies to make sure officers are deployed where needed.

“Having what we call a 'field' lieutenant in the field allows us to be fluid and move staffing around to areas of the city that are seeing increases in crime,” said Nisleit.

Still, Nisleit claimed San Diego is safe when compared to other major cities with high crime rates, like Los Angeles or Houston.

Toward the end of the SDPD presentation, the president of the San Diego City Council, Sean Elo-Rivera from District 9, said throwing more money at the police department is not the solution.

“There were not budget cuts to police spending in fiscal year 2021-2022. In fact, the police budget increased by millions. In other words, there is no reason to believe increasing spending on policing will solve this by itself,” said Elo-Rivera.

The only major crime category that went down in San Diego in 2021 was robbery, which decreased about 10%.

WATCH RELATED: Rise in violent crime prompts SDPD to ask for the public’s help (March 2022)

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