By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Homicides in California increased 7.2% in 2021 as compared to 2020, data released Thursday by Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed.
Statewide, 2,361 homicides occurred in 2021, translating to a rate of 6 homicides per 100,000 people. More than 83% of homicide victims were men, and in cases where the ethnicity of the victim was identified, 47.1% of victims were Hispanic, 29.5% were Black and 17.6% were white, according to new data released by Mr. Bonta on Thursday.
Firearms were the most common weapon used in homicides in 2021, with data showing it was used in 75% of homicides where the weapon was identified.
Kern County had the highest homicide rate per 100,000 population at 13.7, followed by Merced County at 9.5 and Alameda County at 8.7. Napa, Shasta, Marin and San Luis Obispo Counties had the lowest homicide rates in the state.
New data released Thursday also shows violent crimes in California increased by 6.7% in 2021, rising from 437 instances in 2020 to 466 in 2021. Additionally, property crime increased 3% in 2021, up from 2,114 in 2020 to 2,178 in 2021.
Arrest rates saw an overall decrease between 2020 and 2021 in California, down 6.8% for adults and 24.9% for juveniles. The felony arrest rate decreased 2.7% in 2021 and misdemeanor arrest rates decreased 9.4%.
Additionally, the arrest rate for violent offenses decreased 9.1% in 2021, down from 339 in 2020 to 308 in 2021.
“While crime rates remain significantly below their historical highs, property and violent crimes continue to have devastating consequences for communities across the state,” Mr. Bonta said in a statement. “As we confront these ongoing challenges, we must have accountability and appropriate consequences for those who break the law.”
The new data comes as the Legislature prepares to wind down the session by August 31. As the session approaches its final days, lawmakers are still weighing several pieces of gun legislation, including a recently amended bill that creates a new issuing process for concealed carry weapons licenses. The bill would raise the minimum age to 21 to obtain a concealed carry license.