Crime Statistics in California

California DOJ 2020 Crime Report


According to the California Department of Justice, there were 173,864 violent crimes committed in 2020. This is up slightly from 2019 when there were reportedly 173,205 violent crimes. Property crimes decreased slightly from 915,197 in 2019 to 841,171 in 2020. Arson, however, increased significantly over the same period to 11, 759 compared with the 2019 total of 8,266.

Arrest Data

Arrest totals were down substantially in 2020 compared to previous years. The COVID-19 pandemic was the most likely cause for the decrease. In 2020, there were 853,576 total arrests compared to the 2019 total of 1,055,622. Both juvenile and adult arrests were reduced in 2020. According to the DOJ’s data, the total juvenile arrests in 2020 were 25,710 compared to 2019’s total of 43,181. Adult arrests were reduced from 1,012,441 in 2019 to 827,866 in 2020. 

The vast majority of arrests were for misdemeanor offenses. In 2020, of the 853,676 arrests, 577,586 were misdemeanors and 273,542 were felonies. Juveniles were arrested for 11,332 felony violations and 11,930 misdemeanor offenses. Adults, on the other hand, were arrested for 262,210 felonies and 565,656 misdemeanors. 

Drug and Alcohol Offenses

In 2020, there were a total of 161,625 total misdemeanor drug offense arrests, 99.5% of which were adult offenders. There were 92,048 arrests for driving under the influence. 99.6% of the drunk driving arrests were adult offenders accounting for 91,637 arrests. Juveniles made up only .4% of the DUI arrests, with a total of 411 juvenile offender arrests.

Drug and alcohol offenses typically make up a large portion of misdemeanor arrests and convictions in California and throughout the country.