Violent crimes on rise in California |

Violent crimes on rise in California

SACRAMENTO — The number of violent crimes in California increased by 3.2 percent last year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the state Department of Justice.

There was a 4.4 percent increase in homicides in 2005 compared to 2004, a 5.2 percent increase in robberies, and 2.6 percent increase in aggravated assaults, according to the preliminary report. Rapes decreased by 2.5 percent.

This was the first time the state recorded an increase in violent crimes since 2001, when the rate rose by 1.7 percent.

“Although crime levels remain at their lowest levels in years, we cannot ignore these small increases in crime,” Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.

“I am convinced that criminal street gangs and the prevalence of methamphetamine are two of the primary factors behind this recent uptick in crime. In order to further improve public safety, we need to continue to focus our attention and resources on the root causes of our crime problem.”

The state also experienced a 2 percent increase in property crime, which includes burglary, vehicle thefts and larceny thefts, the report said.

The report compared 2005 data with 2004 data provided by 81 police and sheriff’s departments that serve populations greater than 100,000. Overall, 101,583 violent crimes were reported by the 81 police agencies in 2005, compared with 98,410 in 2004.

The jurisdictions whose data were used in the report account for about 65 percent of the state’s reported crimes annually, according to the report.

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle

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