Violent crime down 5 percent statewide

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Gilroy
– Violent crime in California dropped by almost 5 percent last
year, but property crime crept up about 1 percent, according to
preliminary numbers released Wednesday by the state Attorney
General’s office.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – Violent crime in California dropped by almost 5 percent last year, but property crime crept up about 1 percent, according to preliminary numbers released Wednesday by the state Attorney General’s office.

The biggest drop in violent crime was with aggravated assaults, which fell by 5.2 percent in 2004 when compared with 2003, according to the report. The total amount of violent crimes fell 4.8 percent across the state as the homicide rate, however, increased by 1.4 percent. Rapes decreased by 2.6 percent and robbery by 4.4 percent, according to the preliminary numbers from the state’s most populous cities and counties.

This is the third year in a row that violent crimes reported has decreased.

The increase in property crime comes from a survey of three offenses: Burglary, car theft, and larceny-theft of more than $400. Vehicle theft increased by 2.6 percent, while burglary was the only property offense that saw a decrease, of 0.2 percent.

The report was based on statistics from 79 law enforcement agencies serving populations of 100,000 or more, so Gilroy-specific information was not available.

“The violent crime numbers show that technological advances and the development of stronger crime-fighting tools throughout California have helped make our children, families and communities safer,” Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a statement announcing the report.

The decrease in violent crime was the largest drop the state has seen since 1999, when such crimes dropped by 8.8 percent.

The Gilroy Police Department compiles its crime rate statistics and will present them to City Council during a retreat in November.

The report may be viewed at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/preliminarys/jd04/jd04net.pdf.

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