Homicides in WA highest in nearly 30 years, violent crime on the rise

Jul 21, 2022, 3:31 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2022, 7:18 am

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Violent crime is up 12.3% year-over-year, according to a new report from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The report collects data from nearly every law enforcement agency statewide.

Homicides are at an all-time high as 325 people were murdered in Washington state in 2021, approximately 6% more than the year before. Per capita, the state saw more homicides in both the mid-’80s and ‘90s.

And a big reason for the rise in crime rates is the staffing shortage many departments are facing.

“Violent crime is way up and I think that’s simply a function of fewer police,” Bryan Suits said on the Bryan Suits Show. “This report shows very concerning increases in both violent and hate crimes, and at the same time, the state lost nearly 500 law enforcement officers last year.”

The report says the state officially lost 495 commissioned officers last year.

Steve Strachan, the executive director of WASPC, says the uptick in violent crime is happening as the state is dealing with the fewest number of officers per capita in 40 years — which is how long the agency has been tracking the data.

“It’s no secret that this has been a difficult time for all of us, including law enforcement and we encourage people we have a very active recruiting program and State Patrol,” Inslee said at a press conference. “We’re focusing on increasing diversity, which I’m pleased about making some progress yesterday.”

Seattle council looks to bring back SPD hiring incentive program

Harrell recently announced he’ll implement hiring bonuses as a main incentive to join SPD. In his plan, Seattle wants to hire 500 new officers over the next five years and the mayor wants to offer $30,000 to cops who move from different police agencies. New recruits would get $7,500.

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Homicides in WA highest in nearly 30 years, violent crime on the rise