Crime in Berkeley

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Crime in Berkeley

Political representations about crime

While our politicians and public servants assure us that crime in Berkeley is trending downward, the number of incidents is far higher than in the rest of California or the rest of the US. According to one study, in 2016, the violent crime rate in Berkeley was 23.61% higher than the national rate. Property crime was 80.31% higher than the national rate. Measured against California in the same timeframe, Berkeley rates were 10.21% higher in violent crime and 73.09% in property crime.

Scope

In keeping with our objective of providing a set of baseline facts, the analyses below will focus on just a subset of these questions, namely, who is being arrested, where and when are stops and calls for police services taking place, what kind of crimes are reported and for which are charges filed?

We will not delve into the question of why these crimes are being committed or whether police resources are being allocated fairly across various communities and population cohorts. Such matters are left to the domain of opinion, while our focus is on establishing the facts to support healthy debate about how crime affects residents of and visitors to Berkeley.

Policing Berkeley has additional information on the resources available to the Berkeley Police Department, as well as the training and techniques they are permitted to use.

Note that only arrests of adults are reported in publicly available data. Further, not every crime that occurs in Berkeley results in an arrest being reported by BPD: criminals may be taken into custody by other agencies, as in the case of Stefon Jefferson, who was arrested in Nevada on attempted murder charges after allegedly shooting people in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Nevada on April 26, 2019.

Arrests by the Berkeley Police Department

There are multiple law enforcement agencies involved in policing Berkeley: the Berkeley Police Department (BPD), BART Police, departments from neighboring communities supply mutual aid, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, and the University of California Police Department (UCPD). In this analysis we focus only on the first of these: BPD is the most active across the city, is subject to the most public scrutiny, and provides several data sets that are relatively easy to work with.

NOTE: data are delayed by a few days and so the "Current month" stats will appear stale at the start of the month. Check back in a day or two for updates.

Classifying arrest data

In order to analyze Berkeley crime activity across hundreds of statutes, we've created a curated set of Categories of Crime. These categories enable us to analyze the many types of, for example, property crime, in aggregate form.

Analyzing arrests by category and housing status

Method

The official Berkeley Police Department arrest logs provide the authoritative data set for the arrests made by the department. They do not include arrests by the UCPD or other agencies with jurisdiction in Berkeley.

Records in arrest log include rich demographic information, including name, age, date of birth, race, gender, eye and hair color, weight and height, statutes and charges, date and time, and the grounds for the arrest (probable cause, as one example).

These records can be combined with the information published on Local Crime News, which includes city of residence and indicators as to whether the individual is a transient. In the analysis presented below on housing status in arrests, records in the two data sets have been matched by name, age, and the date of the arrest.

Multiple charges may be filed for a single arrest. These are separated out into individual records so that we can reason effectively about trends and cohorts for different categories of crime. Hence the figures provided reflect the count of charges and not of arrests.

Individual categories of crime are added to each record to facilitate aggregate analyses.

Arrests by demographic information

In each section below, we provide views of the most recent, complete month, as well as the latest data for the current month. Archived data for earlier periods are also available.

Charges by Housing Status

We separate four distinct cohorts from among the total population of people arrested in a given month:

  1. Transients
  2. People housed in Berkeley
  3. People housed in other cities
  4. Unknown: no information available

Most recent, complete month

(source data)

Current month to date

(source data)

Charges against Housed Individuals, by City of Residence

Here we drill down on the population of housed individuals to understand how arrests in Berkeley are distributed among residents and non-residents.

Most recent, complete month

(source data)

Current month to date

(source data)

Charges by Age (Adults Only)

Here we aggregate by age cohorts for all arrests, without regard to housing.

Most recent, complete month

(source data)

Current month to date

(source data)

Charges by Race and Gender

Here we aggregate all arrests by race and gender.

Most recent, complete month

(source data)

Current month to date

(source data)

Calls for Service

These interactive maps can be used to explore the calls for service received by BPD. Note that these are crime incidents and not criminal reports.

To explore the map, you can zoom with your mouse, trackpad, or mobile device on an area of interest. You can also click on the the clustered markers to expand for more detail. Clicking on an individual marker will reveal the nature of the call as well as the date and time when it was placed.

Explore a map of Berkeley for November, 2019

To explore the map, you can zoom with your mouse, trackpad, or mobile device on an area of interest. You can also click on the the clustered markers to expand for more detail. Clicking on an individual marker will reveal the nature of the call as well as the date and time.

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Explore a map of Berkeley for December, 2019 [to date]

To explore the map, you can zoom with your mouse, trackpad, or mobile device on an area of interest. You can also click on the the clustered markers to expand for more detail. Clicking on an individual marker will reveal the nature of the call as well as the date and time.

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Sources of information about crime in Berkeley

Berkeley Police Department Open Data

BPD Calls for Service Calls for service (not criminal reports) within last 180 days

BPD Arrest Log Adult arrests by the Berkeley Police Department over the past 30 days.

BPD Jail Bookings Adults booked into the Berkeley Police Department Jail over the past 30 days.

BPD Stop Data Stops by police in the categories of traffic, suspicious vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle stops. Incident number, date and time, location, disposition codes, and block level information about the location of the incident.

Other

California DOJ Crime Database Search for Berkeley to explore this dataset.

Local Crime News LCN is an aggregator of arrest data. Unlike the police department's feed, LCN publishes enough address information to separate crime by transients from housed individuals. It can also be used to ascertain whether an arrestee may have been arrested in other jurisdictions.