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Rural California counties, including San Luis Obispo County, saw greater arrest rates than more urban 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.
In 2016, there were 5,035 arrests per 100,000 people in SLO County. Kings County (5,608), Kern County (6,190) and Santa Barbara County (5,882) all recorded similar arrest rates. Neighboring Monterey County had significantly fewer arrests, 3,528 per 100,000.
By comparison, Los Angeles County had 2,800 and San Diego County had 3,342.
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/