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SANDAG reports violent crime dipped in county for first six months of ’09

The violent crime rate in San Diego County dropped slightly for the first six months of 2009, compared to the same period last year, according to a report released Thursday.

There were 3.96 violent crimes — homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults —in the county per 1,000 residents during the first six months of the year, compared to 3.94 during the same time in 2008, according to the study by the San Diego Association of Governments.

There were 39 homicides in the county during the first six months of the year, compared to 49 in 2008.

According to SANDAG’s report, the only category of violent crimes to rise was robbery — up 4 percent during the first six months of 2009, compared to the same time last year.

Property crimes were also down.

According to SANDAG, there was an 18 percent decrease in property crime during the first half of 2009, compared to the same period last year. There were 22.18 property crimes per 1,000 residents during the first six months of the year, compared to 27.08 during the first half of 2008.

Both the mid-year property crime and violent crime rates were at 10-year lows, according to SANDAG.

“While there seems to have been the expectation in some circles that the crime rate may go up with the economic situation in 2009, this has not been the case,’' said Cynthia Burke, SANDAG’s director of criminal justice research.

“Rather, our mid-year statistics show the overall downward trend in crime

rates continuing.’

The report “Crime in the San Diego Region Mid-Year Statistics,” looked at crime trends for the 18 cities and unincorporated communities in the county between January and the end of June.