SPD releases 2022 crime report; homicides up, vehicle theft at all-time high

MyNorthwest Content Editor

Shootings and reports of “bullets fired” reached a new high in Seattle last year, with the release of the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) year-end 2022 crime report.

According to SPD data, there were 739 shootings, and shots fired incidents in the city in 2022, which is a 19% increase from 2021.

Violent crime increased in the city by 4% over the year before, and homicides are up 24% in a year. With a total of 52 homicides in the city in 2022, the second-highest number of homicides recorded after 53 homicides in 2020.

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz optimistic about drop in violent crime

In an interview with Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, MyNorthwest asked about more recent trends in crime statistics to get an understanding of how his department was handling the rise in violent crime.

Diaz explained that crime has actually been falling again at the end of the year and that the department was working alongside many other public service workers.

“I’ve been really focused on addressing violent crime since I came into the job, so a lot of the work that we did in Quarter 4 last year, we’ve actually started to see a drop in violent crime,” Diaz told MyNorthwest. “Homicides have stayed pretty consistent and that is our growing concern. This month, just this month alone, we’ve actually seen a 30% drop in violent crime. However, our homicides are still staying steady. This is the work that we are still committed to staying focused on.”

Despite nagging issues within the department, December 2022 turned over a new leaf. 2022’s final month had the fewest violent crimes reported since March 2020, as violent crimes dropped 18% over the last three months of 2022 in comparison to 2021, according to Seattle police records.

“Shooting and Shots Fired events were at an all-time high in 2022. 2021 was the previous all-time high on record, followed by 2020,” the report said. “In 2022, there were 39 fatal shootings and 157 non-fatal shootings. This represents a 13% increase in overall shootings (fatal and non-fatal) compared to 2021, a 62% increase compared to 2020, and a 104% increase compared to 2019.”

According to the data, the violent crime rate in the city increased from 729 per 100,000 in 2021 to 736 per 100,000 in 2022.

Washington state’s streak with violent crime continued through 2023, as the state witnessed north of 20 fatalities in January after averaging 31.5 murders per month last year, according to the Twitter account Washington State Homicide.

Seattle police said property crime rates also slightly increased in 2022 from 5,730 to 5,784 per 100,000. Car thefts have increased 30%, though robberies did not increase last year. Arson and burglaries actually dropped, the former down 19%  and the latter down 12%.

A general increase was observed across the city, in addition to the noted increase in TikTok-inspired motor vehicle thefts of Hyundai and Kia, according to the report.

The report shows Seattle’s Chinatown International District, Brighton, and Northgate were the three neighborhoods with the highest number of shootings in 2022.

Seattle University, in partnership with SPD, conducted its eighth annual public safety survey to collect data at the neighborhood level. In May 2022, citywide perception of safety reached its high, and perception of trust reached its low for the year, although there was minimal variation in trust and safety scores throughout the year.

The report concludes that violent crime in Seattle is at its highest point in 15 years.