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California crime figures expected to improve

The violent crime rate is expected to fall from 2016 to 2017 in three California cities according to projections from the New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice. Researchers from the law and public policy institute analyzed crime trends in the nation's 30 largest cities using police reports and historical data, and they concluded that the overall crime rate in the United States is expected to fall slightly by 1.8 percent and the violent crime rate by 0.6 percent by the end of 2017. The study includes data from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose. Data from San Francisco was not available when the study was prepared in September.

The study suggests that crime figures in 2017 will be the lowest since 1990. The overall crime rate in Los Angeles is expected to fall by 3.3 percent with violent crimes falling by 7.4 percent. In San Diego, the overall crime rate is expected to fall by 10.1 percent with the violent crime rate remaining essentially unchanged. Violent crimes in San Jose are predicted to fall by 5.3 percent, but the overall crime rate in the city is expected to buck nationwide trends by increasing by 5.6 percent.

Decreases in homicides in Detroit, Houston and New York are largely responsible for an expected 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate for the country as a whole in 2017. The Brennan Center for Justice study predicts the murder rate to increase by 4 percent in Los Angeles, fall by 16.3 percent in San Diego and fall by an impressive 41.4 percent in San Jose.

The penalties for serious crimes can be severe, and police officers and prosecutors tend to be especially careful when preparing these cases. However, protracted trials involving expert testimony can be ruinously expensive, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge prosecutors to consider reducing serious charges in return for a speedy resolution.

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