The number of arrests made in California is at the lowest it has been in decades, according to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). The report, which examined arrest rates from 2016, shows arrests in California have declined nearly 60 percent since peaking in 1989. Let’s take a look at some of the major findings in the report.
Decrease in Misdemeanor Arrests
According to the PPIC study, the arrest rate in California has dropped 58 percent since its highest levels in 1989. In 2016, for every 100,000 people in California, 3,428 persons were arrested at least once, down from the 1989 peak of 8,188.
The decline is mostly attributed to a sharp drop in misdemeanor arrests, which have decreased by approximately 75 percent, especially with respect to arrests related to drugs and alcohol.
Likewise, felony arrest rates for property and drug offenses have dropped significantly. Felony offenses in 2016 accounted for just 21 percent of all arrests. Roughly a third of all felony arrests were for violent crimes, but the overall violent crime arrest rate is also down.
The Racial Component of Law Enforcement
The study found that arrested individuals were more likely to be non-white, younger males. In 2016, 41 percent of all arrests were of Latinos, 36 percent were of whites, and 16 percent were of African Americans. Individuals ages 18–39 accounted for two-thirds of arrests, and men accounted for three-quarters.
African Americans are only 6 percent of the state’s population, African Americans represented 16 percent of arrests in 2016. Latinos account for 39 percent of California’s population and 41 percent of arrests.
The encouraging news is that racial disparities in arrest rates are decreasing over time, but there remains a significantly higher likelihood that a black male will be arrested when compared to his white counterpart. In 2016, the arrest rate among African Americans was three times that of whites. Similarly, Latinos are 1.1 times more likely to be arrested than whites.
Women’s Arrest Rates Are Climbing
PPIC found that women now account for almost 25 percent of all arrests, an increase from 14 percent in the early 1980s. Violent offense arrests of women have increased 62 percent between 1980 and 2016, while misdemeanor assault and battery arrests increased 67 percent for women.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
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