Violent Crime Jumps in California, FBI Stats Show

A police officer near the scene of a deadly mass shooting on January 22, 2023 in Monterey Park, California. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
October 20, 2023

California’s violent crime jumped in 2023 even as national levels decreased, according to FBI figures released this week.

The Golden State saw a 3.8 percent rise in violent crime over 2022, driven by a spike in aggravated assaults and an increase in rapes and robberies, the federal data show. These same crimes fell by 1.7 percent throughout the rest of the United States.

The FBI report comes as California Democrats in city halls and the state capital remain committed to soft-on-crime policies. Democratic lawmakers this year refused to crack down on fentanyl dealers or impose harsher sentences on violent gun-wielding criminals, while George Soros-funded district attorneys in Los Angeles and Oakland seek light sentences for murderers and looters. Los Angeles earlier this month set a cashless bail system that releases criminals after their arrest.

The federal data—which rely on numbers submitted by local law enforcement agencies—nonetheless paint a rosier picture than the state’s own statistics. Over the summer the Democratic attorney general reported a much higher 6.1 percent jump in violent crime last year, even as fewer people were arrested.

California’s major cities are reeling under crime surges that have emptied San Francisco’s storied downtown and helped spur more than 700,000 people to leave the state. Yet it isn’t a total outlier among other Western blue states. The FBI clocked a 12 percent uptick in violent crime in Washington State and a 2.5 percent increase for Colorado.

Nearly two-thirds of Californians are worried about the violence, according to a 2022 poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

The think tank noted earlier this month that California’s violent crime has spiked 13.5 percent since 2019, with the rate increasing in most of its counties. Thirteen counties saw violence grow by 20 percent or more.