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Crime Down Nationwide, Less So in California

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The FBI published its annual crime statistics, Crime in the United States 2018, today. The violent crime rate dropped 3.6%, not quite back to the 2014 low, but getting there. The property crime rate continued its steady decline, dropping 6.9%. "Rate," for both figures, means number of crimes per 100,000 population, as distinguished from the raw count of crimes.

Also continuing the trend, California did not fully share in the drop, as it has not since it began its mass decarceration project in 2011. The drops in California rates were 1.3% for violent and 5% for property.

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It should be noted that, due to Proposition 47, the vast majority of property and drug crimes committed in California were downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors. Thousands of misdemeanors occurring every year are not reported to police, and those who are arrested for one are released with a citation and no punishment. Crimes that are not reported are not counted. California's 5% drop in property crime is most likely an illusion.

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