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California homicides decline to lowest rate in 45 years

May 24, 2011 |  3:12 pm

California’s homicide rate continued to fall in 2010, reaching the lowest level since 1966, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday.

Preliminary figures gathered by the California Department of Justice from the state's largest jurisdictions show the number of homicides reported in 2010 declined by 9.6% from 2009.

That is the fifth year of declines in killings.

Homicide Report: Track killings in L.A. County

There were 1,335 homicides in 89 of the state's largest jurisdictions in 2010, according to the report, down from 1,476 in 2009.

The continuing drop reflects a trend seen in Los Angeles, where there were 293 homicides in 2010, down from 312 the year before, according to the state report

Overall, the number of violent crimes declined 6.4% in 2010 statewide, according to statistics gathered from 89 larger agencies that report about 65% of all crimes committed annually in the state.

Forcible rape declined 6%; robbery dropped 8.9%; and aggravated assault fell 4.6%.

"The decline in homicides and other violent crimes reflects the tireless efforts of our peace officers," Harris said.

Property crimes declined 2.2% in 2010; burglary dropped 0.9%; motor vehicle theft declined 7.2%; arson dropped 15%; and larceny under $400 dropped 4.9%. Only larceny of more than $400 rose, by 0.7%.


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Photo: A Los Angeles County coroner's van leaves the scene of a fatal shooting in South El Monte in August 2010. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times