Annual CA Attorney General Report Reveals – Among Other Statistics – Nearly 2 Californians Shot by Law Enforcement Daily, Most of Them Brown and Black

PC: Thomas Def
Via Unsplash

By Crescenzo Vellucci

The Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

OAKLAND, CA – More than 600 people, or nearly two a day, were shot by law enforcement in 2022—nearly half were Hispanic and 20 percent were Black, said California Attorney General Rob Bonta last Friday as he released the 2022 Homicide in California, Crime in California, Use of Force Incident Reporting, Juvenile Justice in California and Crime Guns in California statistical reports.

Of all the comprehensive results, a little hyped section noted, on average, each licensed gun dealer in the state “sold or transferred 39 firearms later identified as a crime gun” of the more than half million “crime guns” recovered by law enforcement from 2010 through 2022.

The information for the AG reports was provided by about 600 California law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice entities, said Bonta, to “provide policymakers, researchers, law enforcement, and members of the public with vital statewide information on criminal justice statistics in California to support informed policy choices.”

Bonta reported there were 597 incidents involving law enforcement “use of force” resulting in serious bodily injury or death of a civilian or officer, or the discharge of a firearm, and half of those were as a result of a “call” for service, with just 16.1 percent when a crime was in progress and during investigations. Most (74.9 percent) came from bike, vehicle and pedestrian stops.

The 612 civilians were involved in police shootings, resulting in serious bodily injury or death in 2022, and 1,375 officers were involved in incidents that involved the discharge of a firearm or use of force resulting in serious bodily injury or death, Bonta’s report noted.

Overall, Bonta’s reports noted homicide rates were down, less than a percentage point, but three quarters of the deaths were from guns.

”Despite having a gun death rate significantly below the national average, gun violence accounted for nearly three-fourths of all homicides in California in 2022. That is unacceptable,” said Bonta.

“In 2022, California made significant progress towards reducing its homicide rates, but more remains to be done. While crime rates remain significantly below their historical highs, property and violent crimes continue to have devastating consequences for communities across the state, and gun violence remains a major threat to public safety,” added Bonta. 

The AG also explained that in 2022, under AB 1191 (D-McCarty), the California Department of Justice (DOJ) released the first annual Crime Gun in California Report, which “provides insights on patterns and trends relating to recovered firearms that have been illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime.”

Also, reporting requirements are more detailed, Bonta said, noting “under the legacy system, statistical data was typically collected using the ‘Hierarchy Rule,’ i.e., only the most serious offense within a criminal incident is counted for statistical purposes.”

“As a result, if a robbery and a homicide occurred in the same incident, the legacy system only counts the homicide for statistical reporting purposes,” but now all crimes will be included, Bonta added.

The DOJ reports show the homicide rate decreased five percent in 2022 (from 6 per 100,000 in 2021 to 5.7 per 100,000 in 2022), “remaining significantly below California’s historical high of 12.9 per 100,000 in 1993,” quantified Bonta. 

But, the AG noted “firearms continue to be the most common weapon used in homicides. In 2022, 73.6 percent of homicides, where the weapon was identified, involved a firearm.”

Of the state’s 36 largest counties, Merced—according to the reports— “experienced the highest reported homicide rate (12.3 per 100,000) and Santa Cruz County, the lowest (0.8 per 100,000).

And the statistics indicate that females continue to be a more likely target than males, with 37.1 percent likely to be killed—compared to 7.7 percent for males—by their spouse, parent, or child. 

Overall, the AG reports said, “the violent crime rate — the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people — increased 6.1 percent from 466.2 in 2021 to 494.6 in 2022, (but) remaining significantly below California’s historical high of 1,103.9 in 1992.”

Property crimes increased 6.2 percent over 2022 to 2,313, but far below the state’s historical high of 6,880 in 1980, while the arrest rate was down by a few percentage points and, said the report, “the total number of adults on active probation reached its lowest level since 1980 at 151,402, while fulltime criminal justice personnel – from police to prosecutors and public defenders – decreased 1.4 percent since 2021. 

On the juvenile justice side, of 26,000 juvenile arrests, 45.8 percent were for felonies, 49.8 percent misdemeanors and “4.4 percent were for a status offense, defined as acts that would not be classified as crimes if committed by adults.”

Of all those arrested, 62.5 were referred to probation, 20.6 percent released and 16.9 percent sent to another agency, said the AG, adding 51.3 percent of the juveniles were “made wards of the court,” and of those juveniles tried in adult court, 71.2 percent of them were convicted.

“Crime Guns in California 2022 provides insight into patterns and trends relating to recovered firearms that have been illegally possessed, used in a crime, or suspected to have been used in a crime — also known as ‘crime guns’— including the leading sources and origins of those firearms,” according to the AG office.

The AG reported, “Over the past decade, California experienced a significant increase in the number of crime guns recovered without serial numbers” but, in 2022, “there was a seven percent drop in the number of crime guns without serial numbers reported statewide, the first decrease recorded since 2013.”

About, added the AG, a half million, or 545,946, “unique crime guns with identifiable serial numbers were recovered by law enforcement agencies between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2022. 76,135 (13.94 percent) of the serialized crime guns entered in AFS over this period could be associated with a total of 1,929 distinct California firearm dealers.”

The reports, interestingly, found “all the identified dealers sold or transferred at least one firearm that was later recovered as a crime gun, 344 dealers were associated with only one crime gun and 82 dealers were associated with roughly half of all crime guns (38,230 firearms). 

“The highest number of crime guns associated with one dealer was 1,652. On average, each licensed dealer sold or transferred 39 firearms that were later identified as a crime gun.”  

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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