The number of violent crimes and property crimes in California inched up between 2011 and 2012, according to a new analysis of crime data released Friday by the Attorney General's Office.
A press release from the Attorney General's Office stressed that crime rates are down drastically from their levels 20 years ago. Californians endured 160,629 violent crimes in 2012, far below a 20-year peak of 345,508 in 1992. That reduction comes despite California's population growing by more than 6 million people since 1992.
Nevertheless, the findings will likely serve as ammunition to critics of Gov. Jerry Brown's criminal justice policies. In an effort to reduce prison overcrowding known as realignment, Brown has presided over a push to send low-level offenders to county jails, in some cases spurring early releases.
Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a Republican poised to challenge Brown for the governorship in 2014, has signaled realignment will likely form a centerpiece of his campaign.
Statewide homicides, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults all ticked up in 2012 compared with 2011 levels. The same holds true for total numbers of burglary, automobile theft and larceny.
Violent crimes increased by less than 3 percent from 2011, marking a rare instance of year-to-year violent crime rates jumping since the level of offenses began receding from its peak two decades ago.
The total number of violent crimes has steadily declined since its 1992 apex, rising in 2000 and 2006 before descending again.
Arrest numbers decreased slightly between 2011 and 2012, falling by about 30,000. Driving that was a drop in juvenile arrests. While the number of adults arrested remained essentially static, actually increasing by 143, the state witnessed 28,743 fewer arrests of juveniles.
Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543. Follow him on Twitter @CapitolAlert.