Just a few years after killings in the San Francisco Bay Area’s biggest cities lurched upward, the California homicide total fell to a 44-year low in 2010, easing concern that a sour economy might translate into desperation and danger on the streets, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Overall violent crime dropped as well, with the number of homicides, robberies, rapes, and assaults down 6.4 percent from 2009, says the California Department of Justice.
Total homicides fell nearly 10 percent in big cities. Police officials and criminologists don’t know exactly what has caused the trend. Some point to better policing, others to a society in which law-abiding citizens can spread information about crime faster thanks to cell phones and the Internet. “We haven’t seen crime this low since Dwight Eisenhower was president. So it is remarkable,” said Barry Krisberg, a criminal justice expert at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. “You would have bet that, given the economic downturn, you would have seen more crime. But that’s kind of a myth. We’re challenging a lot of myths.” Several big cities continue to suffer from high crime rates, such as Oakland and Richmond.