FRESNO, Calif. Late-night comedy show host Chelsea Handler recently called Fresno "the murder capital of the country."
That nationally televised comment, along with Monday's apparently random shooting of a delivery-truck driver, have revived talk of the city's high-crime reputation.
Data collected by the FBI, however, show that Fresno's homicide rate is below average for California's 10 largest cities. And the numbers have been declining for years.
The number of murders in Fresno declined from 71 in 1995 to 40 in 2008, with the same number recorded so far this year. That is about 8.4 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Fresno's rate is below the average of rates for California's 10 largest cities in 2008 -- 9.8 per 100,000 residents.
Crime and courts coverage The highest rate was posted by Oakland, at 28.6. The lowest, at 3.3, was San Jose. Los Angeles recorded a rate of 10.0 and Sacramento reported 10.5.
Other kinds of crime in the city also are declining. Fresno reported 5,659 violent crimes in 1995 but fewer than half that number -- 2,782 -- in 2008, even though the city's population grew by 20% in that time.
The overall violent crime rate in 2008, at 585 per 100,000 residents, was well below the average of 752 for the state's 10 largest cities.
Read the full story at fresnobee.com