Seattle Police 2022 crime report shows increase in murders, violent crime

Feb 7, 2023, 6:17 PM
crime report...
(Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

A newly-released report from the Seattle Police Department shows violent crime hit a 15-year high in 2022.

The number of homicides also rose by 24%, with 55 lives lost last year, most of those by gunfire. That surpasses the numbers in 2020, when 53 people were murdered, a 25-year high for the city.

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“For a number of years, we saw a reduction in overall violent crime from 2010 to 2017,” said Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “Now we’re seeing an uptick over the past five years, and really the last three years, we saw a lot more aggravated assaults, particularly shootings.”

The city of Seattle saw 739 criminal shootings and shots fired last year, a rise of 125% compared to 2019 pre-pandemic numbers.

Chief Diaz said a significant number of shootings over the past three years involved people experiencing homelessness.

“We had 11 homicides last year related to homelessness, which is a huge increase,” he said. “Just this year alone, out of the seven homicides we’ve had, five have had some relation to homeless encampments.”

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While the data showed a drop in break-ins, arsons, and burglaries last year, the chief said those numbers might not paint the whole picture.

“People have expressed that they haven’t been reporting property crime as much because it takes the officer a long time to respond,” Diaz said. “So we’re really trying to make sure we’re encouraging people to report crime, whether online, over the telephone, or by waiting for an officer. If we don’t have accurate data, we’re not really able to address those issues.”

Also found in the report: A 30% increase in auto thefts.

When asked if the Seattle Police Department bears any responsibility for the increase in crime, particularly violent crime, Chief Diaz pointed to staffing shortages in the department.

“We’ve lost 525 officers over the past three years. That is over one-third of the department. We are still down 375 officers, so that is creating a significant challenge,” he said. “Having the freedom to deploy officers throughout the city has been significantly constrained.”

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There were bright spots in the 2022 report, including that violent crime went down in the last four months of the year, something the chief hopes will continue.

“We’re seeing that in January of this year, where we’re down 30% in violent crime compared to the year before,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have significant challenges, and we still have a lot of work that needs to be done.”

You can read the full crime report from Seattle Police here.

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Seattle Police 2022 crime report shows increase in murders, violent crime