Incidents of property crime, violent crime and aggravated assault in the City of San Diego have increased over the last year, according to a national mid-year crime report released by the FBI last Tuesday.
The FBI Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report compares incidents of various crimes reported from a six-month period from over 12,000 local, state and national law agencies. This report shows that the City of San Diego has had an increase in property crime, violent crime and aggravated assault.
Director of Applied Research at the San Diego Association of Governments Cynthia Burke stressed to the UCSD Guardian that it is unclear whether the data indicates that crime has gotten worse.
“Statistically significant refers to changes in samples, and this is population data,” Burke said. “Standard significance tests aren’t what is used.”
SANDAG released two reports in 2015, one in April and another in September, that analyze crime rates in San Diego. The reports showed that the violent crime rate in 2014 was the lowest it had been in 35 years and the violent crime rate increased by 9.8 percent from 2014 to 2015. Burke argues that despite the increase in the past year, the mid-year rates in 2015 are relatively low when considering the past 35 years.
Travis Easter, Media Relations Coordinator at the San Diego Police Department, talked about the importance of understanding the nature of this research.
“Statistics fluctuate from year to year without a specific trend,” Easter told the Guardian. “That’s just the nature of statistics; sometimes they could rise and some years there may be a lull and each year can be different.”
In addition, the FBI report also shows a drastic increase in the incidents of rape, but Burke attributes that to the change in the legal definition of rape. The Department of Justice broadened the definition of rape in 2014 by requiring consent rather than willingness.
Easter also discussed ways for students and residents of the city to keep safe and suggested that individuals should start by always locking their house doors, windows and cars. He also recommended going out in pairs or groups when out at night or when going to an unfamiliar area. He emphasized, however, always remaining vigilant and reporting incidences of crime.
“If you see something, say something; call the police,” Easter said. “Take as many safety precautions as possible.”