As the upcoming mayoral election comes up for San Jose, we have two candidates: Sam Liccardo and David Cortese. Crime and policing are, at this point, going to be at the center of the campaign. So I thought I should become a bit more educated about “the facts.” So I turned to the FBI uniform crime reporting statistics. The charts below give the crime rates per 100,000 of population. The note on the table for San Jose declares “Due to reporting changes or annexations, 1997 figures are not comparable to previous years’ data.” But it doesn’t seem that there is any clear 1997 break in the series, so perhaps the change was relatively minor (experts weigh in perhaps?). Anyway, I thought to present the whole series. There is an uptick in 2012 (the last year available) in property crime, very clearly. But still fairly small in the overall picture. Tomorrow I’ll take a look and see if that uptick was common to other California cities. On the whole, my takeaway is that the 2000s have seen a good, steady reduction in crime rates. That is reassuring. There is no “crisis” and policy shouldn’t respond to a rhetoric of crisis. We need to keep building on good police work and social work of the past two decades.
(Right click on the graphs to open in new tab, to see more clearly.)