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California v. Other States Crime Index Changes

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CalNonCalCrimeChanges2014_2015.gifAs noted previously on this blog, the FBI recently announced the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report covering the first half of 2015 for cities over 100,000.  I have totaled the crime counts for violent and property crimes for 2014 and 2015 and computed the percent changes for California cities versus cities in other states.  Click on the graph for a larger view.

California has (1) court orders overriding state law to release prisoners because of overcrowded conditions caused by the Legislature's failure to build enough prison space, (2) the "realignment" program moving prisoners from state prison to overcrowded county jails where they are either released or push out prisoners who would otherwise be in jail, and (3) Proposition 47, which reduced many felonies to misdemeanors.  Between these measures, the state has seriously softened its approach to crime and put many criminals on the street who would otherwise be in custody.  Although other states are taking more modest measures to reduce prison populations, nowhere else do we see this headlong rush to push criminals out the gates.  One would expect, then, that California would have much worse results than other states, and that is exactly what we see.

What is Governor Brown's plan?  Push even more criminals onto the streets. 

Data Notes:

These are crime counts, not rates per capita.  For a single-year comparison, that does not matter because population shifts in a single year are not large.

Cities that did not report a violent crime total for both the 2014 and 2015 semiannual reports are excluded from the violent crime calculation.  The same is true for the property crime calculation.

Some cities changed from the "legacy" definition of rape to the "revised" definition between 2014 and 2015, which would produce a slight increase in the index even in the absence of an actual increase in crime.  The effect is slight, though, because the violent crime index is dominated by robbery and aggravated assault, and the contribution of rape to the total number is small.

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