SAN FRANCISCO, July 18 (Xinhua) -- While reports of robberies, rapes and auto burglaries fell in San Francisco Bay Area's largest cities, homicides increased up to 14 percent in the region in the first half of 2020, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report on Saturday.
According to police crime data compiled by the newspaper, six of the area's largest cities experienced an increase in homicides over the first half of 2020, five cities recorded a decrease, and four cities' counts stayed the same as the first six months of 2019. Overall, killings in the region's 15 largest cities increased from 98 to 112 compared to January through June of last year.
San Francisco's killings rose from 19 to 24, Hayward's went from three to eight and Berkeley jumped from zero to three. Homicides in Oakland fell from 37 to 34 during this time period, and San Jose remained steady at 17 for both years.
By the end of June, the city of Vallejo's 13 killings were nearly triple the five recorded over the first six months of last year.
Preliminary research suggests the rise in Bay Area homicides is consistent with the rest of the country, even as other types of crime have fallen. David Abrams, a University of Pennsylvania Law School professor who has studied crime trends during the pandemic, found significant drops among several types of crime in many major cities with the exception of homicides.
Killings in California have been trending down for decades, with the most recent decreases coinciding with a drop in violent crimes committed by young people, according to data from the California Department of Justice. The state had 1,679 killings in all of 2019, representing a 3.5 percent decrease from the previous year, the report said.