Since 2010, Urban Strategies Council has produced and published a snapshot of violent crime in Alameda County using data made available by the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. The fact sheet is produced as a part of the Alameda County Violence Prevention Blueprint, led by Supervisor Nate Miley, and is intended to help guide decision-making as it related to prevention and reduction of violence.

Our 2013 Violent Crime Fact Sheet is being released through this blog. The Fact Sheet contains statistics on the overall level of violent crimes in Alameda County, as well as breakdowns for murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery. The fact sheet looks at the ten year period ending in 2013, the last year for which full data are available, and compares each of the cities within Alameda County and the county to both the nation and the state. Statistics are largely expressed as rates, or the number of reports per 100,000 people, making it easier to compare jurisdictions that differ significantly in size.

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The following are some highlights of our findings: 

  • While the overall rate of violent crime (murder, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery) in Alameda County dropped from 2012 to 2013, the drop was marginal and the 2013 rate was still above the county’s ten-year average. Meanwhile, state and national rates have maintained a steady decline for more than a decade, a trend that stands in contrast to the direction of violent crime rates for Alameda County; the last time Alameda County maintained a rate of violent crime lower than that of California was in 2001. Looking at violent crime trends for jurisdictions within Alameda County, it appears that most cities have experienced declines over the most recent 5-year period (2009-2013) when compared to the preceding 5-year period (2004-2008). In fact, half of all jurisdictions analyzed (7 of 14) experienced their 10-year low for violent crime in 2013. Meanwhile, Oakland, Piedmont, and Livermore all experienced rates of violent crime that were higher than their respective 10-year averages; Piedmont was the only jurisdiction to experience their 10-year high in violent crime rate in 2013, which also was more than double the city’s 10-year average.

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  • All jurisdictions in Alameda County experienced a rate of murder that was below their respective 10-year averages, with 8 of 14 cities hitting or matching their 10-year low with less than 1 murder per 100,000 residents. Oakland’s murder rate (22.3) was the highest in the county, accounting for four of every five murders in the county and well exceeding the next highest rate of 3.4 murders per 100,00 residents (Berkeley and San Leandro). However, Oakland’s 2013 murder rate was below their 10-year average and was the lowest since 2010. Significant reductions in the rates of murder in Oakland and Emeryville are largely responsible for the drop in the countywide murder rate for 2013, from 9.8 to 7.0 murders per 100,000 residents. In fact, Alameda County experienced its 10-year low in 2013, moving closer to rates reported for California and the U.S.
  • Alameda County’s rates of aggravated assault and rape both dropped in 2013, maintaining a relatively steady 5-year downward trend. Six of 14 jurisdictions in Alameda County experienced their 10-year lows in each category, and no jurisdiction experienced their 10-year high in 2013 for either category. Rates of rape countywide fell closer to the California rate and below the national rate for only the third time in ten years, and Oakland was among the jurisdictions experiencing a 10-year low in the rate of rape reports per 100,000 residents, despite having the highest rate in the county.

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  • Half of all jurisdictions (7 of 14) reported an increase in the robbery rate from 2012 to 2013, including Oakland, which experienced a 10-year high of 1,218 reports of robbery per 100,000 residents – nearly 50% above the 10-year average for the city. The city with the next highest rate, Emeryville, recorded 672.1 reports of robbery per 100,000 residents. Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, and Hayward all recorded their 10-year lows for robbery 10 years ago, in 2004. Accordingly, the countywide rate of robbery continues its 4-year climb and remains well above national and state rates.

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In summary, the overall rate of violent crime is slightly down in Alameda County. In particular, the rate of aggravated assault has declined, rates of rape were at their lowest in some time, and murder rates are trending downward. However, robbery rates are climbing steadily.