Violent crime, car thefts reached 15-year high in Seattle in 2022
Violent crimes and car thefts around Seattle in 2022 were the highest they've been in 15 years. That's among a handful of takeaways from the Seattle Police Department's report on crime statistics for last year.
Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said at a recent press conference that there may be some nuance in the numbers because not everyone in town is reporting crime.
"Because they felt like officers were gonna take too long to get there," Diaz said. "And so it's been my encouragement to people — we can't address these issues if we don't know all the issues that are going on."
According to the report, "Overall citywide crime increased by four percent (1,834) compared to 2021," the 2022 report states. "The percentages may appear lower but reported crime for 2021 was at an all-time high. 2022 totals have now exceeded that with 49,577 reported violent and property crimes. Aggravated Assault and Motor Vehicle Theft were significantly high in 2022 when compared to a five-year weighted average."
Violent offenses include crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and assault. Property crimes include arson, burglary, theft, and car theft. While arson and burglaries declined in 2022 from the previous year, thefts and car thefts shot up. SPD points to social media-inspired thefts of Kias and Hyundais for the dramatic rise in car thefts.
"The violent crime rate for the City of Seattle increased from 729 per 100,000 in 2021 to 736 per 100,000 in 2022. Property crime rates increased slightly from 5,730 to 5,784 per 100,000 for 2022," the report states.
SPD further notes that while crime was up in 2022, there was a dip in crime rates over the last quarter of the year.
The crime report also shows that gun violence is at an 11-year high.
SPD says "verified criminal shootings" went up 125% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The department also says it took in 1,349 firearms over 2022, which is the second-highest number on record.
"In 2022, there were 739 verified criminal shootings and shots fired citywide. This represents a 19% (119) increase compared to 2021, a 69% (303) increase compared to 2020 and 125% (410) increase compared to pre-pandemic totals in 2019."
Another takeaway is that SPD recorded more shootings concentrated in some neighborhoods more than others. Shootings were more concentrated in the Chinatown/International District, Brighton/Dunlap, and Northgate.
"In 2022, 42% (93) of shooting victims were Black or African American which was a 15% reduction (16) compared to 2021, 37% (82) were White, which had the biggest increase over last year at 67% (33), 11% (23) had no race listed at the time of reporting, nine percent (19) were Asian/Pacific Islander, and one percent (2) were American Indian or Alaska Native."
"Female victims represented 10% (21) of the total victims while males were 90% (198) of the total victims identified at the time of the event. Sixty-two percent (63) of victims were in the 25-34 age group, followed by 31% (61) in the 35-49 age group, which had a 42% (18) increase over 2021. The 20-24 age group made up 12% (20) of victims and had a 49% (22) decrease over 2021."
Read the Seattle Police Department's full 2022 crime report here.
Tacoma police see similar rise in gun-related crime
Last week, the Tacoma Police Department spoke out about a rising trend in gun thefts, noting that a gun was being been stolen from a vehicle every 48 hours within the city.
A total of 202 firearms were stolen from cars in Tacoma over 2022, TPD reports. Tacoma police note that the number reflects guns stolen from vehicles, and not guns that were still in cars while the vehicles were being stolen.
“Stolen guns are finding their way into the hands of juveniles and are being used in violent crimes," Tacoma Police Chief Avery L. Moore said in a statement. “Many of these firearms are stolen in vehicle prowls. By not leaving firearms unattended in your vehicle, you are helping us keep guns out of the hands of juveniles.”