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2020 Emeryville Crime Data Plummets Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

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If there’s a silver lining in the ongoing pandemic for Emeryville, it’s been a sharp drop in crime data in our city particularly property crime.

After an annual record 2600 reports in 2019, 2020 saw a 44% decrease in crime reports. Crime in 6 of the 13 categories tracked were down.

The caveat of course is that city has been in various states of lockdown for most of the year. With shuttered hotels and sparse shopping centers, thieves have presumably had fewer targets. “We’ve solved the property crime thing in absolutely the wrong way,” acknowledged 2020 Mayor Christian Patz in a recent candidate forum.

Violent Crime Down 23%

Violent crime saw decreases in 3 of the 7 categories tracked with robberies seeing the sharpest decline with a -45% drop. Fewer commuters carrying expensive electronic equipment are assumed to be one factor.

Aggravated Assaults were the the only category that saw any significant increases up 15% from last year. There were no reported homicides for the third consecutive year.

Property Crime Down 44%

Property Crime plummeted 44% in 2020. The 69% reduction in auto burglaries (down from 1593 in 2019 to 486 in 2020) accounted for a bulk of the decline.

On the down side, Commercial burglaries were up substantially. Many of them from the well publicized mass-looting of our city back on May 30. Residential burglaries and auto thefts were also up.

“Anecdotally, the majority of crime in Emeryville is property crime, thefts and burglaries,” noted recently hired Emeryville Police Chief Jeff Jennings. “When there is a dearth of business activity we have less people less cars in our small city so the opportunity for such crimes goes down.

Meanwhile, neighboring communities have seen spikes in violent crime. Homicides and gun violence in Oakland have skyrocketed amid the Pandemic and 2020 saw the highest homicides totals in 8 years.

Jennings cautioned that whenever things return to “normal,” we may also see the crime data return to pre-pandemic levels. “We will likely push reset on the crime numbers and see an increase.”

Download the Crime Analysis Case Studies on Emeryville.org.


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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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