Juvenile Arrests Continue to Decrease in San Diego

Created: 18 December, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Juvenile arrest rates in the San Diego region are at their lowest since 2008, according to a new report released by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division.

The SANDAG report, Arrests 2017: Law Enforcement Response to Crime in the San Diego Region, found that on average law enforcement agencies made nearly 13 juvenile arrests and 229 adult arrests every day in 2017 in the San Diego region.

The 2017 annual arrest rate for juveniles was 13.9 per 1,000, a drop of 76 percent from the 2008 arrest rate of 56.9 per 1,000.
“The juvenile arrest rate comparison continues a 10-year decline,” said Cynthia Burke, SANDAG division director of Criminal Justice. “This trend also has been seen in other jurisdictions across the state and nation.”

San Diego County had the second-highest juvenile and adult arrest rates in 2017 compared to the four other largest Southern California counties, trailing only San Bernardino and followed by Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties.

The Criminal Justice Research Division of SANDAG is the clearinghouse for criminal justice information in the San Diego region. The arrest statistics shared in this report are compiled by the state and provide additional insight into public safety in the region, augmenting the crime reports that SANDAG prepares bi-annually. Arrest statistics include more types of crimes than the other crime reports. Because the age of the arrestee is known, these statistics provide a better understanding of arrest trends for adults and juveniles.
The report notes that in comparison to juvenile rates, in 2017 adults were more often arrested for violent, drug-related, and weapon offenses than minors. Adult property-offense arrests were down 9 percent compared to the previous year.

“This decline in property-related arrests for adults may be related in-part to Proposition 47 which was passed in 2014 and reduced several property and drug-related offenses from felonies to misdemeanors,” said Burke.

In 2015, the year following the passage of Proposition 47, there were fewer felony arrests and more misdemeanor arrests. However, in both 2016 and 2017, the felony arrest rate remained fairly stable, but the misdemeanor arrest rate decreased. In 2017, there were 15 percent fewer arrests for petty theft and burglary, compared to 2016.

When comparing male offenders to female offenders, the study found that although males account for the vast majority of adult arrests since 2008, the adult male arrest rate fell to a greater degree (minus 24 percent) when compared to adult female arrest rate (minus 15 percent). On an average day in 2017, 172 adult males were arrested compared to 56 adult females.

Since 1980, SANDAG has reported crime statistics for the San Diego region through a cooperative agreement with local law enforcement agencies. These data are used by local law enforcement, policy makers, and the community to track public safety over time, as well as the effectiveness of crime prevention and response efforts.