Sept. 27, 2021

CONTACT: Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; [email protected]

OAKLAND, Calif. – New data released today by the F.B.I. shows a national uptick in violent crime in 2020 versus 2019, largely driven by conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Property crime rates dropped nationally for the 18th consecutive year.

In California, which has implemented a series of landmark criminal justice reforms aimed at reducing ineffective incarceration and increasing investments in community-based crime prevention, saw no increase in its overall violent crime rate. Statewide property crime rates decreased by more than eight percent. There was an increase in homicides, heavily borne by communities that have long experienced the harms of violence and underinvestment and were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The following can be attributed to Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice.

“This data once again shows that increased incarceration does not equate with greater levels of safety and well-being, especially for those communities historically most impacted by crime and violence. But there is no question things like stay-at-home orders, isolation and job loss have contributed to a crisis of rising violence that demands an effective and community-based response. We need immediate and targeted investments in community-based initiatives best equipped to work with our most vulnerable populations. And we need to create new funding for programs proven to prevent violence and harm like community-led street intervention and crisis response teams, mental health and substance abuse treatment, violence intervention, assertive outreach, youth employment and mentoring programming, community-based victim support and trauma recovery centers. We have made significant strides in recent years in California transforming the justice system into one that prioritizes the needs of communities and prevents crime and harm from occurring in the first place. It is imperative for the long term health and safety of all our communities that we address the root causes so we can prevent this crisis from continuing to spiral out of control.”