SLO County’s homicide rate plummets, Santa Barbara County’s rate soars

August 29, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County had 71% fewer murders in 2021 than in 2020. With only two murders in 2021, down from seven in 2020, SLO County has one of the lowest homicide rates in California.

Things did not fare as well in Santa Barbara County, which had 125% more homicides in 2021 than in 2020. Santa Barbara County reported eight murders in 2020, with that number climbing to 18 in 2021.

During the past 10 years, SLO County reported between two and seven murders per year while Santa Barbara County reported between six and 18 murders per year.

The two murders in SLO County in 2021 occurred in the City of San Luis Obispo. In May, Detective Luca Benedetti was killed in the line of duty. In November, an Exeter man allegedly killed a 64-year-old homeless man.

Many of the murders in Santa Barbara County in 2021 were gang related. In February, two gang members shot and killed a pair of 19-year-old college students who were attempting to sell marijuana in Goleta. In May, two people were murdered in Santa Maria in three days, though investigators said one of the shootings was not gang related.

On Aug. 25, California Attorney General Rob Bonta released the state’s annual homicide report for 2021. Key findings include:

The total number of reported homicides in the state increased 7.2% year-to-year from 2,202 in 2020 to 2,361 in 2021, remaining significantly below California’s historic high of 4,095 homicides in 1993.

In 2021, 75% of all homicides involved a firearm.

Kern County had the highest rate with 13.7 murders per 100,000 population, followed by Merced County at 9.5 and Tulare County at 8.8. With zero homicides, Napa and Shasta counties reported the lowest rates, followed by Marin County with 0.4 and San Luis Obispo County with 0.7.

Santa Barbara County reported 4.1 murders per 100,000 residents.

More than 35% of female murder victims were killed by a spouse, parent or child compared to 6.4 percent of male murder victims.

Last year, five peace officers were murdered in the line of duty in California, which is up from two officers killed in 2020.

Where the circumstance leading up to the murder is known: 36.3% were the result of an specified argument; 26.6% were gang-related; 7% occurred in conjunction with the commission of a rape, robbery, or burglary; and 6.3% were domestic violence-related.

In 2021, 660 civilians used a firearm or force causing serious bodily injury or death. Of those: 50.6% were Hispanic, 25.5% were white and 16.7% were black.

There were 119 homicides deemed justifiable in 2021. Of the 77 committed by a peace officer: 51.9% of the deceased were Hispanic, 26% were white, 18.2% were black, and 3.9% were listed as other.

Of the 42 justifiable homicides committed by a private citizen: 42.9% of the deceased were black, 28.6% were Hispanic, 19% were white and 9.5% were listed as other.


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grumpy

I’d like to solve the puzzle,Pat.


IDBOUND

How can this be ?? With the same employees at the county jail . Is SLO County LEO using blanks ??


Justducky

What about LA County’s stats and San Bernardino County’s stats?


NorthCountyGuy

In contrast to the beautiful people of SB County, SLO County has a low homicide rate because the SLO County DA doesn’t pamper, protect and coddle violent criminals.


shelworth

Statistics using such tiny numbers is meaningless.


Florian75

Not in the context of the geo-political units they are cited for. How else would you describe crime or any other statistics for small counties and cities? Are the people those statics represent also meaningless? Whether it be statistics for crime, economic performance, academic achievement or rainfall, there is merit and utility in comparing numbers for small populations and small socio/geo/political jurisdictions.


shelworth

So if there is single murder in a particular year then three in the next, it’s valid to say “don’t vote for that guy, the number of murders went up 300% under him!”