Violence hits ‘epidemic proportions’ in pandemic-era California, study shows

SAN DIEGO — The Golden State is losing its luster. A troubling new report labels physical and sexual violence in pandemic-era California a statewide “epidemic.” To put it simply, violence is on an alarming rise.

According to the new annual report from the California Study on Violence Experiences across the Lifespan (CalVEX), violence statistics have seen a significant increase since COVID-19 emerged. The report, conducted by scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, reports more than one in six Californians (18%) experienced either physical or sexual violence in just the past year. Meanwhile, one in every 25 Californians experienced intimate partner violence.

Overall, rates of both physical and sexual violence have seen an uptick since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with physical violence nearly doubling among men between 2020-2022. Study authors say demographic disparities in the results may provide further insight into potential contributing factors that could have been exacerbated during the pandemic.

“Californians are experiencing violence at epidemic proportions,” says principal investigator Anita Raj, PhD, professor at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Division of Social Sciences, in a press release. “Current violence prevention efforts are clearly woefully inadequate and often ignore the gendered nature of violence, its intersections with other socioeconomic vulnerabilities and its disproportionate effects on marginalized populations.”

How was violence that wasn’t reported measured?

Violence often happens behind closed doors, and most victims never formally report their experiences. It’s why study authors admit relying on criminal justice data or health records to analyze violence almost always fails to account for the “full picture.” In pursuit of stronger data, CalVEX surveyed a representative sample of adults across California, and then uses those responses to estimate population rates. The dataset used in this latest report was collected in March 2022 from 2,285 adults.

The annual CalVEX survey
The annual CalVEX survey measures rates of physical, sexual and intimate partner violence among Californians. (Credit: UC San Diego Health Sciences)

Importantly, the report also describes numerous gender disparities when it comes to experiencing and perpetrating violence. Men are more likely than women to have dealt with physical violence, while women are more likely than men to have experienced various forms of sexual violence. In just the past year, over 1.5 million adults in California have admitted to committing an act of sexual violence. Men were deemed more than two times as likely as women to report committing an act of sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

Moreover, women also deal with more mental health consequences and life disruptions in the wake of violent experiences. Over four in five women (82%) report experiencing anxiety or depression due to physically aggressive, coercive, or forced sexual behavior. Women who have experienced physical violence are also twice as likely as men to miss work, miss school, or change/quit a job.

California violence wave linked to pandemic, economy

The report also notes that both socially and economically vulnerable Californians, such as Latino and Black communities, LGBTQ communities, people with a history of homelessness or incarceration, or people living with a disability, experience more violence than other residents. Experiencing financial distress, like facing eviction or food insecurity, is linked to a two to eight times increased risk of violence.

“Our findings suggest the rising rates of violence are linked to the harsher social climate, economic insecurity, and poorer physical and mental health that many Californians have experienced over the last few years due to the pandemic,” Dr. Raj adds.

The research team recommends new policies be put in place strengthening social and economic safety nets, programs in violence prevention, and mental health services across the state of California. A multi-level approach like that, if performed correctly, could both address the current violence crisis and support post-pandemic rebuilding.

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  1. The report says nothing of “LGBTQ communities.” Just go ahead and insert your agenda points why don’t you? Disgraceful.

  2. Ask yourself , why the rich are leaving or fencin5in in this shitehole? And then get out or vote conservative. NOT REAL HARD.

  3. Maybe the solution is less government programs and more attention to creating a robust private sector with more wealth being created instead of drained from the creators to fund yet another bureaucratic government program.

  4. This has got to be the laziest reporting I’ve seen lately. I’m not even from CA but I know this is all bogus. More people = more violence. Period. If PEOPLE are living in a state, some will be shitty to others….it’s easy math.

  5. The analysis is so incredibly incomplete. Divorce, single parent households, and what used to be called illegitimacy is never mentioned. Such incredible bias. The phenomena of children begetting children isn’t even considered. What such a biased diagnosis, the result of such a study might cause more chaos than there is already.

  6. This is what happens when you start turning a blind eye to petty criminal act and it leads to more serious criminal acts. Now if you come over to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee you don’t have these types of problems, why, because the elected sheriffs in these states do not put up with it.

    1. How much more in taxes are you willing to pay for not turning a blind eye to petty criminal acts?

      It is costly to track down, arrest, imprison, guard and feed criminals.

      Perhaps there is a better option.

      What do you think that could be?

      1. So is throwing $100+ billion at a high speed train project that is still a decade away from completion and that price tag keeps going up. That money could be better better served addressing homeless and crime problems, much are a result of the policies in CA. Yes there is good weather, but many homeless receive a check from the state yet stay homeless with no attempt to find a job or housing. Why? Because that’s how many of them want it. There are quite a few encampments within 5 miles of where I live. I have talked to many people from these encampments. 40% of the people I’ve spoken to are choosing to stay homeless rather than work multiple jobs to afford housing in CA. You can defend them all you want, but California’s high taxes and failed policies that you see to rave about are much of the reason for the high cost of living and a 30% poverty rate. And yes, CA has the 5th largest economy in the world. However, our state government can’t afford to help its own residents? Instead of spending my tax dollars to do all the political grandstanding, spend it improving the lives of those in the state. All these priveledged people in CA want to blow up social media about social injustice, help the homeless, etc. while rolling down the road in their Range Rover and living in gated communities. They talk the talk, but then expect someone else to solve the problem. Get off your high horse and help solve problem. This goes to you too Vendicar. CA has been a Democrat super-majority for over a decade, yet crime, homelessness, drug use, etc continues to escalate. Sure sounds like successful policies in action to me!

  7. Cali is insane. There’s an axe man who destroyed a fruit cart run by illegal aliens and he was charged by the police even though he was abating a nuisance. Swing that axe, Axe Man, swing away!

  8. California is perfect and the people there are content. The election to recall Gavin Newsom failed because there is nothing wrong with California and Newsom’s leadership is appreciated by all.

    1. I don’t feel one bit sorry for the radical increase in crime inside California, they had ample opportunity to turn things around and chose not to. Let those tards stew in their own swill

    2. “California is perfect”

      California is the perfect destination for America’s homeless.
      It’s nice and warm, and they don’t have to freeze to death while other Americans ignore them in winter.

  9. Why is this a surprise?

    There is unfettered illegal immigration into the state and it’s a “sanctuary” state as well.

    Look at the incessant violent crime in Mexico and other countries to the south of the border, e.g., Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Brazil, etc.

    It should be no surprise that violent crime spills over into everyday life in California.

  10. California voters… keep voting Democrat. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  11. The beginning of the end of the Golden State came in 1975 when feckless whimsical Jesuit Jerry Brown aka Governor Moonbeam came into office interfering with road construction, the life blood of California. On going construction stopped, future construction scrapped all in the name of protecting the environment. Today Frisco Bay tantamount to an open sewer, violence knocking on every door and a Brown clone named Gavin Newsom driving the last nail in the coffin.

    1. The problem with roads, is that you have to maintain them.

      People never think about that, because people aren’t very bright.

    2. Setting the record straight: Governor Brown acquired the nickname Moonbeam because he had proposed that California launch a satellite to provide emergency communications for the state. A very common sense idea. It was Jerry’s girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt who kiddingly mentioned moonbeam to Mike Royko who was a columnist at the Chicago Tribune.
      “Frisco” is a suburb of Dallas – Fort Worth. While there is a fishing pond there I would hardly call it a bay.

  12. How did they define “violence”? Is it like Swedish study a few years ago that they modified to more accurately define what a sexual assault is, which drastically changed the numbers compared to previous methodologies to count the sexual assaults?

    I got yelled at by a MAGA goon a couple of month ago. She was super aggressive. Does that count as violence? How about a senior citizen pushing me in the isle of a supermarket because she is an ahole? Is that a violence?

    Making crap up for sensationalized responses from the far Reich.

    Come to Florida and I’ll show you real violence. You can go unscathed when you go to Daytona Beach these days.

    What don’t you people go back and live in Mississippi and Louisiana then tell me about violence and poverty.

  13. Yeah, right. Just another article about a bogus “study” to get Red-staters to feel good about themselves. Everybody hates on California but — here’s a newsflash — we don’t care. You don’t like us? Don’t come here. Although, careful, we might secede and take the Internet, the movies, cell phones, and all the other shit that was invented here with us.

    1. The problem is Californians coming to Red States and bringing their woke leftist failed policies. Make you a deal, we won’t come there if you quit sending thousands of Californians to successful states!

    2. The Republican Parasite states have never liked California, because it is successful and it’s policies often drive the policies in their own state.

      Awwwwwwwww It make them gassy and constipated.

    3. Maybe you should worry more about the ones who work leaving. Also all that sweet military money that you say you hate but cant get enough of. Please do secede I and many others will also laugh at your water struggles as you try to find somewhere else to steal it from.

    1. Yup, defunding the police allows resources to be moved from warehousing the socially maladjusted and the mentally ill, to methods of treatment and social rehabilitation.

      American’s are remarkably dumb and think that warehousing petty criminals – now more than 2 million in prison – will solve the crime problem.

      Without adequeate social services, the mentally ill and maladjusted will continue to be mentally ill and maladjusted and will continue to be a drain of the justice system.

    1. You mean the illegals picking California crops?

      You don’t seem to realize that “illegals” commit less crime than real Americans.

      Why do you feel a need to perpetuate a lie?

      1. I’m not sure what school you went to, but by my teachings 100% is much more than what about 27% ish percent ? Why do you feel the need to perpetuate a lie?

      1. Constitutional Republic. At the very least, you could describe our form of government accurately. Then you might be able to have a conversation that’s not so intellectually dishonest, like most of your comments. At least you demonstrated your point about ignorance, yourself as the subject.

  14. Well, what did you think would happen with open borders and pillow soft stance against crime. You made the bed now sleep tight, don’t let the illegals and criminals bite…. you in the rear

  15. The pandemic can be blamed for lots of things, but not this increase in crime – anyone here with any sense understands that the decades-long reduction of consequences for those committing crimes has led, inevitably, to more crime, and increased “serious” crime. California, Oregon and Washington are all terrific examples of “soft on crime.”

    1. Punishment doesn’t stop crime, just as nets don’t stop people from falling.

      America has more than 2 million people in it’s prison system.

      How many more millions do you propose be imprisoned?

      Another 2 million?

      Another 4 million?

      Your justice system is a failure, in part because you are incapable of undestanding why crimes are comitted.

      Americans are willfully ignorant.

      1. This is such a shallow and boring argument. Science, by its very definition, does not encompass that which is not repeatably observable by man-made instrumentation. To believe that the human experience is fully defined by that which is repeatably observable by instrumentation is so patently misguided that I have to conclude the people who spout it, like yourself, are either trolls or borderline retarded.

  16. Wait! How in the hell did they perform this survey? They can’t even define what a woman is. So how then were they able to compile these stats? I am calling BS!

  17. Gets causes totally wrong. soft on crime DA And soft on crime laws are the reason Crime and violence are up. Letting violent people out of prison because of the “pandemic“ also contributed.
    Not the pandemic itself , not UFO sightings, not housing prices or any other nonsense.

    1. Yup. State passed prop 47, prop 57, effectively abolishes felony murder, increases time credits and decreases the standards for parole. Those don’t have any effect, you see, on crime. What the state needs to do is spend more on counseling and drug rehab.

    2. America has over 2 million of it’s population in it’s prison system.

      That is a higher percentage than Russia ever had in it’s prison system.

      How many more millions of people do you intend to imprison?

      What makes America such a socially destructive, failed state?

      Is it because you don’t have 4 million of your citizens in prison? 10 million?

      The size of America’s prison population hints to why America is a failed nation.

      Americans aren’t smart enough to figure it out.

      1. We’re not doing it right. Rather than soft cozy prisons, we should create work camps where criminals serve they’re time in labor. Create work farms where they can grow crops and raise animals for sale and pay for their keep. Quit being soft. Give violent offenders the death penalty without long, drawn out appeals. 3 months maximum from offense to execution. Liberals are way too soft to govern, and whatever good intentions they may have, result in utter failure.

  18. What a terrible state. Hoping and praying relatives give it up and move out. Areas with soros funded prosecutors need avoided.

    1. Compared to the rest of America, California sits roughly in the middle of the pack.

      Florida and the Backward southern states are much worse.

      1. Coming from someone who has not lived in FL, right? I live here and it is great. Moved from California and coulnd’t be happier!

  19. Gee, I wonder what happens when you defund police, stop bail and stop locking up offenders, all because of a skin color. I wonder.

    1. About 30% of crimes are caused by the mentally ill,

      Law enforcement isn’t equipped to properly manage these people.

      Arresting them and holding them in a jail cell, is costly and doesn’t solve the underlying psychological problem.

      There are similar problems with people who are just socially malajusted. Prison time for them just makes their inability to cope in society worse.

      The goal of defunding the police is to free up resources to treat the underlying cause of anti-social behaviour that is caused by social maladjustment or mental illness.

      Conservatives can’t wrap their head around this, because they have very tiny minds that can’t grasp the underlying problems.


      1. Standard type of response from an idiot who believes his intelligent, yet spews nonsense that of course as according to the results we see, solves nothing. A ‘soft on crime’ response touchy feeling answer to a problem that requires harsh treatment of people who commit the crimes.

      2. So, letting the mentally-ill run loose in the streets is better for that person and a functional society? At least in jail they have shelter and food. We used to have mental health facilities (similar to jails) in the US until horrible reports of abuse were broadcast by the media. Then the institutions became unpopular and closed. We really do need to step up to a similar solution we had in the 60’s and 70’s. Trouble is, we need people who care. The people working at those facilities in the 60’s and 70’s did not care.

        And since you are attacking different political parties, what is the reason for the rise in bums across the country since Obama? Check out the exponential growth in 2012 in New York. Left over Occupy protestors? Tea party members who lost their homes? All of the homeless camps should be called Obamavilles giving credit where credit is due. NPR actually “disected” an advertisement in 2012 about Obamavilles. Fast forward 10 years and what do you have?

      3. Sources? You are not even close to the truth. The vast numbers of offenders are non white, that escapes your comments. And you go after the right/red party? BOTH are puppet shows.

    2. I totally agree! Since when are you allowed to walk in to a department store and take what ever you want. And not do anything about it because of their race. How fucked up is that!!!

  20. More detailed statistical renderings would provide the means for a deeper more isightful analysis of this issue. To simply leave it at “California” is only scratching the surface.

    Without numbers broken down by categories; such as region/neighborhood and demographic qualifiers like age, income, race, educational and income level, religion, repeat offenders and so on and so forth, you really are just making a blanket statement.

    The research team issues recommendations after a very superficial “analysis”. This will not alleviate the problem and end up wasting even more taxpayer money.

    Do better. Or are you afraid of what you might find and then be cancelled by the elightened class for … revealing the truth?

    1. YEah, this is nonsense, they sampled 2,285 people out of 39,350,000? Don’t even begin to see how that could be considered even slightly accurate with a sample size that’s less then 0.0006 of the Californian population. Also what exactly are they comparing their data to to show an uptick? they have only one other report from 2020.

      As usual the comments only go to show that nobody bothered looking at the report before spouting off.

      1. “Don’t even begin to see how that could be considered even slightly accurate with a sample size that’s less then 0.0006 of the Californian population. ”

        LOL. Did you not take basic statistics in high school?

        You don’t need a sample size that is large to get statistically meaningful results.

        You and ignorant people like you are why America is such a spectacular failure.

        As a people, you have grown too stupid to govern yourselves.

        1. You understand that they only sampled one person out of every 17,221 people here in California. There is no way that sample size could ever correlate to any sort of reality, also I only went to the faith grade, so no I didn’t take high school statistics.

        2. “You don’t need a sample size that is large to get statistically meaningful results.” How you can state the polar opposite of how statistics works with such confidence is disturbing.

    2. Well they voted libral on everything. Ended up with a libral legislator and libral governors galor. Which brings you libral soft on crime prosecutors. Economy and society destroyed as a result of libral policies. The explosion in crime is the end result.

      1. Voting Liberal is America’s only hope.

        Americans aren’t smart enough to do it. So they will vote for destructive Fascism instead and fail even harder.

        The world is laughing.

        1. You don’t even know the meaning of Fascism. Both parties, especially the Democrats are guilty. All one has to do is look at the blue states during the pandemic where Democrat legislators virtually shut down small business, yet big corporate stores like Wal-Mart were left alone. Big business in bed with government – That’s Fascism. Voting ‘liberal’ results in higher crime, hostility toward small business, and of course, out of control spending on pet social givaways, inflation. LOL..Smart people won’t buy into the nonsense you’re trying to spew.

        2. If you look at the dictionary Fascism is government controlled capitalism which is the the stated goal of the Democratic Party.

        3. World laughing? With food & fuel skyrocketing in prices everywhere on the planet. What nation to you reside to laugh it up so? The Great Re Set a laugh a minute or a very real deal unfolding? Sept. 24 is being marked as day to remember.

    3. I’d link it the Prisons being emptied like it’s described in the Communist Manifesto and the purposeful massive influx of illegal alien’s

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