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While most California urban centers reported a relatively low crime rate, Fresno County stood as an outlier, with nearly double the rate of reported arrests than other populous counties.
That’s the finding of a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, which examined state arrest rates for all 58 California counties in 2016. The report found that, overall, counties with larger populations – urban centers like San Francisco, Los Angeles County, San Diego County and Santa Clara County – had lower rates than rural counties.
Fresno County was an exception; in 2016, there were 4,676 recorded arrests per 100,000 people.
Fresno’s neighboring and nearby counties nearly all recorded similar arrest rates; Mono County had the least with 2,833.
By comparison, Los Angeles County had 2,800 and San Diego County had 3,342.
Beating Fresno were Kern County (6,190), Kings County (5,608) and Tulare County (5,344). Other neighboring and nearby counties had slightly lower, but still high, arrest rates: Inyo County (4,486), Merced County (4,479), San Benito County (3,930), Madera County (3,603) and Monterey County (3,528).
The highest arrest rates all were in Northern California: Lake County (7,906), Siskiyou County (6,862) and Shasta County (6,672).
The lowest arrest rates were in Riverside County (2,479), Santa Clara County (2,576) and San Francisco (2,603).
“County variation in arrests could be driven by a range of factors, including crime rates, demographics, poverty, fiscal conditions, jail capacity, law enforcement staffing, and policing,” the report concluded.
In addition to the urban and rural divide, researchers recorded a continuing disparity between races when it comes to getting arrested.
“In 2016, the arrest rate among African Americans was 3.1 times higher than the white arrest rate and the Latino arrest rate was 1.1 times higher than the white arrest rate. However, many counties had significantly larger disparities,” according to the report.
The report also found that more women are being locked up now than 40 years ago.
“The share of women among all arrestees has grown—from 13.4% in 1980 to 23.5% in 2016,” the report found.
The full report is available here: https://www.ppic.org/publication/arrests-in-californias-counties/