Parked San Diego police cruisers. Photo by Chris Stone

The overall crime rate in San Diego County increased by 6 percent in 2015, driven by a big jump in larcenies, but still remained near a 36-year low.

The annual crime report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments found the region experienced a total of 74,383 violent and property crimes in 2015, or almost 204 per day. Of these, 85 percent were property crimes.

“Despite this year’s uptick, the crime rate was still the second lowest since 1980,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, director of SANDAG’s Criminal Justice Research Division. “And the region still has one of lowest crime rates in the nation.”

The increase in property crimes — burglary, larceny and motor-vehicle theft — was fueled largely by the 11 percent increase in larcenies over the previous year. The most common type of larceny — representing about one in three — was theft of an item, such as a purse or a laptop, from a motor vehicle.

The number of burglaries in the region dropped 2 percent, reaching a new 36-year low. Nearly half of all burglaries — 54 percent — involved no forced entry, according to the report.

On average, $457,542 in property was stolen per day in the San Diego region, with 18 percent of the property later recovered.

SANDAG chart shows violent crime rate in San Diego County over 36 years.

There were 10,938 violent crimes — homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — reported across the region in 2015 . The violent crime rate was up 2 percent from 2014, but the increase was partially due to the change in how the crime of rape is defined under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, according to the report.

The region experienced 84 homicides in 2015, 10 more than in 2014. In cases where motive could be determined, 52 percent were due to an argument, 22 percent to domestic violence, and 17 percent to gang activity, according to the report.

Violent crimes against seniors were up 10 percent, and domestic violence incidents across the region increased 6 percent. However, hate crimes were down 37 percent from 2011 to 2015 – from 112 to 71.

The annual report, Thirty-Six Years of Crime in the San Diego Region: 1980 Through 2015, is intended to help local law enforcement agencies track public safety trends over time and gauge the effectiveness of enforcement strategies and crime prevention programs.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.