The law of the gravity of the crime is still very much in play in California, even though the number of people killed by police officers has dropped by almost half since 2010.
But crime has spiked in some areas of the state.
A new report by a San Francisco nonprofit shows that homicides in the San Francisco Bay Area have increased by 30% since 2010, when more than 300 people were killed by San Francisco police.
The uptick was driven by two factors, said Steve Stutz, executive director of the San Diego County Crime Stoppers Program.
The first was the arrest of more people.
And the second was a decrease in the number and seriousness of violent crimes committed against police officers.
The increase is particularly striking because police were able to keep guns off officers in 2011.
That year, police killed more than 5,000 people, Stutz said.
The number of police officers killed by gunfire that year is roughly equal to the number killed by all police officers, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
California police officers were also less likely to be charged with felonies, which is why the number who were charged has declined from about 15,000 in 2010 to about 10,000 now, Stutts report said.
In addition to the uptick in homicides, homicides in California have been on a downward trend for more than a decade.
Since 2010, homicides declined by about 20% in the state, but have been rising in other areas, including Los Angeles and San Diego.
Violent crime has increased dramatically in some of the counties in California where the most murders have occurred, said Eric Jorgensen, an analyst with the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
In Riverside County, for example, the homicide rate was 4,913 last year, up from 3,817 in 2010, according a county data analysis released in December.
In Los Angeles, which includes San Diego, the rate was 5,091 in 2010.
In Santa Clara County, the county has experienced an increase in homicides of more than 60%, according to a county police data analysis last year.
In Ventura County, which encompasses Orange County, homicides were down by nearly a third, according an analysis by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
In Orange County alone, homicides have been down more than 50% from 2010, the sheriff’s office reported.
In Sacramento County, homicide rates have declined by more than 30% in Santa Cruz County, and by more 25% in Riverside County.
In the San Gabriel Valley, homicide was down in parts of the city of Oxnard by nearly 30% from last year to this year, the Sheriff’s Department said.
In Santa Clarita, homicide declined by over 20%.
The sharp decline in homicides has prompted a number of counties to adopt more aggressive strategies to prevent and prosecute crimes against police.
In Orange County and Ventura, the state’s largest cities, police have begun deploying body cameras for officers, and in California cities with the most violent crime, such as Los Angeles County, officers have begun using body cameras to record themselves.
In San Diego and Santa Barbara counties, the use of body cameras has declined, said Tom Hoey, an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hoey said that body cameras are not just for officers who are on the job.
They can also be useful for police who are working on the street, such that they are not always on their feet, he said.
Body cameras are also increasingly being used to identify officers who may have used excessive force on people.
“We know that if officers are using excessive force, and they are being recorded by body cameras, then that information can help investigators identify those officers,” said Mark Kelly, a police analyst at the San Antonio Police Institute.
But it is still too soon to tell how effective the cameras are in reducing crime, Kelly said.
He added that there is evidence that officers are not recording everything that they say they are recording.
Hear more about the law of gravity of crime from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and other groups in their annual meeting in Las Vegas, on April 21.