December 13, 2007

Crime in San Leandro by the Numbers

Is crime up in San Leandro as some people believe? Is crime down, as San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian said in his December 3, 2007, letter to the San Leandro Times? The answer depends on how you look at it.

Crime statistics for the years 1996 to 2006 are available at the FBI’s web site as part of the Uniform Crime Reports at These statistics include the population of San Leandro and the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department.

From 1996 to 2006, San Leandro’s population increased by 12%, from 70,478 to 78,882, according to the FBI data.

The good news: During that same time period, murders and non-negligent homicides decreased 50% from 6 to 4, with only one murder reported in 2000 and three murders in 1999 and 2003. Larceny-theft decreased by 29% from 3,073 to 2,176 and arson decreased by 57%, from 28 to 12. Robberies increased by only 1.3% from 305 to 309 and burglaries increased by 1.2% from 764 to 773. Aggravated assaults increased by 11%, from 278 to 309.

The bad news: Forcible rape increased 33% from 21 to 28 and motor vehicle theft increased by 72% from 725 to 1247.

More recent data isn’t available yet, so recent trends may not be apparent yet. Larceny-theft and arson are down in recent years, but all other crime categories are up.

From 1996 to 2006, the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department has varied from 92 to 93, with a high of 98 officers in 2000 and a low of 88 in 2001. If there’s a correlation between the number of police officers and crime, it doesn’t readily appear in the statistics. Mayor Tony Santos campaigned for increasing the number of police officers and repeated this at the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting. However, if San Leandro were able to increase the number of officers by four or six, it’s not clear that it would have any significant impact on crime.

The following graphs summarize crime, population, and the number of police officers in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006. Here's the data for those of you who want to play with the numbers yourself.

After looking at the statistics, what do you think?

Arson, Rape, and Murder in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Aggravated assault and robbery in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Burglary, larceny-theft, and auto theft in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

San Leandro Population from 1996 to 2006

Police officers in San_Leandro from 1996 to 2006.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at December 13, 2007 11:08 PM | TrackBack


What's really interesting is that we've been steadily losing population since 2001. That's the year I moved to San Leandro. It shows how the tech boom affected this town--in 2001 there was near zero vacancy--I lived in an appartment on Hayes Street that was half Indian tech workers on H1-Visas. Then the bust happened and almost overnight, Indians moved out, Section 8ers moved in.

The alarming figures are the increase in violent crime--in 2005, there were 465 instances of violent crime and 201 instances of aggravated assault:

In 2006, there were 650 instances of violent crime and 309 instances of aggravated assault: That explains why our CQ Press "most dangerous city" rating went from 135 to 82.

No matter the statistics, the recent publicized gun-crimes are a cause for concern. Even if crime is down overall in San Leandro (which is pretty damn hard to believe)--if there is an upsurge of people getting a gun pointed in their faces--that's a bad thing. Especially when these crimes are all happening downtown--within a mile of the police station. The only answer is to have more cops downtown, or let private citizens carry concealed weapons.


Posted by: Frank at December 14, 2007 7:27 AM

The data from the FBI shows San Leandro's population in 2000 as 76,730. However, the U.S. Census figure for 2000 is 79,452.

The FBI reports San Leandro's population as 78,882 in 2006 while the California's Department of Finance shows the 2006 population as 81,071.

I suspect that the FBI's figures for population are not as accurate as those for crime.

The 2006 number for violent crime (650) includes the 309 instances of aggravated assault. In fact the number for violent crime is just the sum of murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.

Whether crime is up or down, takeover robberies and shootings are certainly worthy of concern and warrant a discussion of ideas of what we can do with a limited budget to reduce crime.

Posted by: Mike Katz at December 14, 2007 7:55 AM
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