The 33,000 or so residents and countless more visitors on Capitol Hill have experienced a reported violent crime like homicides, rape, robbery, and assault every day on average in 2018.
In Ballard, the rate of violent crime has been about half of busy Capitol Hill’s pace.
But residents of Capitol Hill and its East Precinct neighbors — First Hill, Montlake, the Central District, Madison Park, and the nearby — express less fear than their northern neighbors who this year topped the charts with their anxiety about Seattle crime.
The results of the Public Safety Survey (PDF) conducted annually by Seattle University show that perception doesn’t necessarily match reality when it comes to policing Seattle. From the Seattle Times:
Overall, Seattleites rate their fear of crime at 45.4 out of 100. That number averages out a lower fear rating in daylight hours and a higher fear at night. The report also includes data for 59 city neighborhoods, and it shows that the level of fear varies widely among them — from lowest to highest, there’s a spread of 22 points. That’s to be expected. After all, you’re much more likely to be a victim of crime in, say, downtown’s Belltown neighborhood than you are in quiet, affluent Magnolia — crime statistics bear that out. But here’s where it gets interesting: According to Seattle University’s survey, it’s Magnolia — not Belltown — where the fear of crime is higher, and by more than 4 points.
In its analysis, the Seattle Times reports an annual crime rate of 88 crimes per 1,000 people for Capitol Hill — one of the highest rates in the city. But, in this year’s survey, Capitol Hill respondents showed less concern than average about the situation:
Capitol Hill’s neighbors also seem to have a “low fear” mentality:
The expert the Times consulted chalks the results up to “mean world syndrome” — a belief that “the world is a much more dangerous place than it actually is” driven by the consumption of, we’re sad to say, media. Reading about individual crimes, you can assume, adds up to perceptions that overwhelm any statistics and even personal experience.
But there seems to be a few holes in that theory right here on Broadway, at the corner of 10th and Pike, and along 15th Ave E. Same with the neighbors around 23rd and Union or over on First Hill.
If Ballard and the other fearful neighborhoods are suffering from “mean world” beliefs, why don’t Capitol Hill residents — and most of their neighbors — suffer from the same syndrome?
You can view the full 2017 report here (PDF) — more takeaways including some top concerns for the East Precinct neighborhood respondents, below.
You can view the latest SPD crime statistics for Capitol Hill and East Precinct on the Capitol Hill Crime Dashboard. 2018’s trendline is that squiggly right in the middle of the pack. Try not to freak out.