For the second year in a row, California saw an increase in violent crimes, according to new state figures which also include the first detailed look at peace officers’ use of force.
The Department of Justice’s inaugural use-of-force report, required by recent state legislation, covers incidents that caused serious bodily injury or death. There were 782 such incidents in 2016, including 328 that involved the discharge of a firearm, according to the agency.
Of the use-of-force on civilians by peace officers, 39.9 percent featured the discharge of a firearm, with more than three-quarters of the shots hitting their target. Of the use-of-force received by officers, about 10 percent involved the discharge of a firearm, with almost nine out of 10 shots missing their target.
In the four-county Sacramento County region, use-of-force incidents represented 3.6 percent of the statewide total. Sacramento County had the most, 20, representing 2.6 percent of the statewide number. Los Angeles County, which had 212 incidents, represented generated more than a quarter of the total.
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Most Sacramento-area counties had overall decreases in violent crime in 2016. Violent crime reported by 17 agencies in Sacramento County declined by 6.4 percent. Placer County had a 7.9 percent drop and Yolo County violent crime declined by 20.5 percent. El Dorado County had a 15.1 percent increase.
The 2016 statewide crime data show 174,701 violent crimes last year, an increase of 4.9 percent from the 166,588 violent crimes in 2015. Last year’s total is 15.4 percent higher than the violent crime tally in 2014.
Property crimes, meanwhile, totaled 1,001,380 in 2016, a 2.2 percent decrease from 1,023,828 in 2015. Last year’s total, though, is about 5.8 percent higher than in 2014 according to state data.
Per 100,000 residents, the violent crime rate grew 4.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, and property crime rate declined 2.9 percent, according to Thursday’s figures.
Among counties that had at least 500 violent crimes in 2015, Humboldt, Madera and Fresno counties had the largest increases in violent crime in 2016. Several counties, though, saw a drop in violent crime, with Merced, Tulare and Yolo counties showing the largest percentage drops.