Violent crime in California dropped last year while property crime increased, reports the Los Angeles Times. The state attorney general’s office said that violence, including homicide, rape and robbery, fell 1.6 percent statewide. Property crime, including burglary, car theft and larceny, rose 3.8 percent. Motor vehicle thefts recorded the biggest jump among property crimes, with nearly 20,000 more cars being stolen in 2003 than in 2002.
“We do tend to see an increase in property crimes when we have a bad economy,” said Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Lockyer credited local law enforcement agencies with keeping the violent crime rate at a stable level, even as the state population has increased. “As state and local governments struggle with limited resources, our peace officers continue to do a herculean job in protecting our communities,” Lockyer said. “The combination of tight budgets, a sour national economy and increasing populations will require law enforcement to do more with less.”