Sand Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman (left), Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Chris Cate outside police headquarters. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Sand Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman (left), Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Chris Cate outside police headquarters. Photo by Chris Jennewein

There’s less violent crime now in San Diego than when Gerald Ford was President and the city was half its current size.

That good news on crime was released by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and City Councilman Chris Cate at a press conference Tuesday prior to an official presentation to the City Council.

“San Diego’s violent crime rate is the lowest in four decades,” Faulconer said. “Despite being one of the nation’s biggest cities, San Diego is also one of the safest.”

The rate in 2016 was 3.8 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, compared to 4.8 just 10 years ago. Aggravated assaults were down nearly 8 percent in the past year, though murders ticked up from 37 to 49. The crime rate has not been this low since the mid 1970s.

Zimmerman said the lower violent crime rate in 2016 alone translated into 785 fewer victims.

“This just isn’t a statistic. This represents real people,” she said.

The chief credited her force, civilian staff, some 600 volunteers, increasing use of technology and a strong partnership with the community. She noted that complaints are down 43 percent since officers began wearing body cameras in 2013.

Cate, who is chairs the City Council’s public safety committee, said community support for police and vigilance at the neighborhood level has been key to the falling crime rate.

“We are one of the largest, safest metropolitan cities in the country,” he said.

Violent crime rate trend in San Diego over past decade.

Chris Jennewein

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