A CHS analysis of the first seven months of reported crimes on Capitol Hill will fuel the debate over public safety in Seattle — and leave you scratching your head at the oddest of coincidences.
In the first seven months of 2013, the overall total for crimes in five main categories — assaults, robberies, burglaries, thefts, vehicle thefts — in the four East Precinct beats that cover most of Capitol Hill, are *exactly* the same as the tally recorded through July in 2012 — a flat-footed tie, 1,797 to 1,797.
It’s the kind of big numbers thing that will leave an editor poring through the spreadsheet to find a mistaken copy and paste or a broken formula. Our count stands.
It’s the mix of tallied crimes and the way the trends have played out through the year that will likely fuel the political debate. The trends we identified in our 2013 first quarter crime analysis strengthened into the summer — by August, Mayor Mike McGinn was throwing cash and a few creative solutions like leaving the lights on at Cal Anderson at the problem.
Now, with the help from the Seattle Times, mayoral challenger Ed Murray is accusing the current administration of allowing crime to override the city’s downtown. The Stranger has responded with a numbers battle attempting to show the measured reality of the crime situation.
The downtown chamber of commerce wants to drag Capitol Hill into the fight:
This problem is not limited to Downtown, but is occurring in other neighborhood business districts in Seattle. Areas of Capitol Hill are experiencing similar increases in violent crime. In fact, the Charlie 2 police beat in the East Precinct, which encompasses The Stranger’s offices and areas north of Pike Street between 15th and Broadway, experienced the highest number of reported violent crimes of any month since 2008. This increase is more than a simple uptick in incidents. Reported incidents of violent crime in Charlie 2 in July are nearly double the number experienced in any single month over the previous six years.
Unfortunately, though it is examining a classic “small sample size” situation, the Downtown Seattle Association is correct. Charlie 2 appears to have fallen into a bit of a mess with a more than 32% increase in reported assaults and robberies through July masked in its overall total by drops in other categories.
You can see that, when it comes to the most serious categories of crimes, C2 is not alone in its robbery problem:
C2, of course, is home to Cal Anderson Park. At least part of the area’s robbery-fueled “crime problem” may have been solved by the case against this trio now playing out in court.
Meanwhile, it seems irresponsible to leave a jump like a doubling of reported burglaries in the E2 sector un-noted.
But when it comes to the totals for all types of crime, things look much less desperate. Here are the trends for each of the four main East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill — the baby blue trendline represents 2013’s totals in each of the charts. Only E1 shows an unprecedented spike — fueled, in a bit of irony, by rises in reported burglaries and vehicle thefts.
Meanwhile, the most violent of violent crime categories also show stability if not improvement. There have been two rapes reported in the areas covered through the first seven months — in 2012, the total by July had grown to seven. Both periods also recorded the same number of homicides — one. A young man died after being shot at 10th and Pine this July. The King County Prosecutor has not charged the shooter in the incident said to have been the result of an accident. In the debate over public safety, the incidents are reduced to numbers and added to the totals. Tick off another eight for 2012, three for 2013.