Californians today are less likely to be murdered or fall victim to violent crime than during any other time since the 1960s, according to new figures from the California Department of Justice.
The murder rate last year was 4.6 killings per 100,000 California residents, an 8 percent decline from 2012 and a 64 percent decline from 1993, when cities throughout the state struggled to stop gang killings.
The violent-crime rate last year was 397 per 100,000 Californians, down 7 percent from 2012 and a 64 percent decline from 1992.
Experts have a variety of explanations for the decline, which is a long-term, nationwide trend. Top theories include better policing methods that use data to pinpoint crime hot spots, harsher criminal sentences for repeat crime offenders and a sharp drop in gang warfare.
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But the trend has also confounded many predictions. Some anticipated that California prison realignment would increase violent crime. It hasn’t. Others decried the rise of violent video games and music, but those forms of entertainment have been around for decades now and crime continues to fall. Others believed desperation from the recession would increase crime. It didn’t.