San Diego, CA

40 Year Low in San Diego Property Crime Doesn't Come Close To The Whole Story

J. Maginot

The Proliferation of Internet Enabled Security Cameras Prompts Escalation in Criminal Behavior.
Thieves have taken to stealing the cameras themselves to prevent being identified on later burglaries.Kyle Duverney/Fairmount Park

Homeowners in San Diego are disturbed by a recent trend of thieves not only casing their residences before breaking in, but stealing their internet enabled home security cameras before coming back.

The balance between property owners and would be thieves seems to be entering a new phase as new, aggressive, tactics are deployed to put your stuff at risk.

San Diego Saw Marked Decrease in Official Property Crime in 2020

Property crime was down in San Diego approximately 10% year over year between 2019 and 2020. The 24,161 reported property crimes were actually the fewest reported since 1967 when the City of San Diego's population was just over 670,000.

The population in 2020 was reported to be 1.4 million.

San Diego is a Big Little Town

That said, statistics are mixed. Despite making considerable improvement in reported crimes, according to, San Diego has one of the highest incidences of vehicle theft. San Diegans have a 1 in 270 chance of having their car stolen.

When compared against all of America, San Diego has a fairly high crime rate, but when compared against cities of comparable size, we have one of the lowest rates of crime.

It feels safer than it actually is due to how large the city is.

Part of the reason property crime has been so low is due to the threat of being identified by the proliferation in internet enabled consumer security cameras.

Global Doorbell Camera Market Set to See Explosive Growth
Grandview Research

According to research firm Grandview Research, the global market for doorbell cameras is projected to be nearly $3 billion by 2025, nearly reaching a saturation point in the market.

Doorbell cameras are cheap, easy to install, and provide homeowners with a sense of security despite not being at their property. The high fidelity of the cameras has proven a deterrent to committing crimes that might come with some hefty penalties.

Burglars Switching to Lower Risk Crimes
Man Caught by Property Owners Confronted in Broad DaylightD Burton / Hillcrest

With stakes so high, criminals are switching to a higher volume of lower risk crimes like petty theft they know San Diego Police will not investigate. The man pictured above was confronted after stealing a bike. The bike was ultimately returned and the man taunted the owner encouraging them to call the police.

The interaction with the police was relayed as follows:

"The cops finally did show up after he left and they didn't do anything. The cops told us they wouldn't arrest him unless a detective had enough evidence to arrest him and they need to get that direction from the detective." - Local Hillcrest Resident

Several residents echoed this interaction with the police. It's not clear if these smaller, ultimately unsuccessful, crimes make it into the official numbers released by the city.

Property Crime in San Diego in 2021 and Beyond

As we move out of the pandemic and more people are returning to the workplace, it stands to reason property crime, especially of the variety the police do not have the resources to investigate, will continue to rise.

If solving crimes is not the highest priority for police, then crime prevention should be a high priority for City residents. The increase in doorbell cameras and home security system installations would point toward this reality.

Basic doorbell cameras start between $50 - 75 for a basic wired model. If your home has a standard doorbell, it should be capable of upgrading to a wired doorbell camera.

Beyond that communities can be active and vocal on social media. Sharing information with one another and reporting suspicious activity. Most neighborhoods in San Diego are active in the Neighborhood Watch Program, so if you aren't involved in yours, consider becoming active.

Ultimately, the safety of our neighborhoods relies on neighbors being vigilant and watching out for one another.

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I write articles focused on helping others break out of their 9-5 mindset. This involves side hustles, mindset, motivation, hands on practical tips, case studies, 30 day challeneges, and other related content. It's a blast.

San Diego, CA

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