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New SANDAG Report Finds a Spike in Homicides in the First Half of 2020

Robberies and Rapes Down in April and May amid COVID-19

San Diego CA— From January to June 2020, 52 homicides were reported in the San Diego region, an increase of 37%, compared to the same time in 2019, according to a new report  by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division, Crime in the San Diego Region Mid-Year 2020 Statistics.

The SANDAG report found that while homicides increased in the first six months of 2020, reported rapes (-20%) and robberies (-10%) decreased, showing the biggest drops in April and May – when social distancing was possibly at its peak.

Among homicides in which motive could be determined, a greater percentage were attributed to robbery in the first half of 2020 than in 2019 (22% versus 4% in 2019). Fewer homicides were attributed to gangs (3% versus 19% in 2019), and none were attributed to domestic violence (0% versus 19% in 2019).

Findings also showed that domestic violence cases reported to law enforcement across the region were up each month January through March, then decreased slightly in April and May, followed by an increase of 3% in June, compared to the same time in 2019.

“The zig-zag percentages of reports in domestic violence regionwide could be attributed to the pandemic,” said Burke. “When you factor in social distancing, including families isolating together during stressful times and with less contact with mandated reporters, it could affect an individual’s willingness to report a crime to police.”

Shoplifting and building thefts were also down the first six months of this year compared to last year, contributing to a 13% decrease in larcenies from January to June.

Other notable findings include:

  • Residential burglaries were down 19%; non-residential burglaries were up 9%
  • Homicides by month were lower in January and February but increased in March, varying from 10 to 11 homicides per month
  • March had the greatest decrease in the number of reported aggravated assaults (-9%), trending upward since then with a 9% increase in June

The SANDAG report Crime in the San Diego Region Mid-Year 2020 Statistics examines crimes reported to local law enforcement in the first half of 2020 when compared to prior years. SANDAG analyzed crime case data across the San Diego region for the first six months of 2020 and 2019 to evaluate how COVID-19 and the stay at home order has affected crime regionwide.

For a full breakdown of the data collected, view SANDAG Crime in the San Diego Region Mid-Year 2020 Statistics.

For a summary of this report, view SANDAG CJ Flash: Crime in the San Diego Region in the First Half of 2020.

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.


The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.

To protect the health and safety of staff, partners, and the general public, SANDAG offices are closed to the public. Staff continues to review the calendar of events and will recommend changes, cancellations, or postponements on a case by case basis. Most employees are working remotely during this time to provide essential services, and to continue progress on critical regional projects. SANDAG continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 in the region and follow guidance from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

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