East Precinct operations lead Lt. Joel Guay describes the trends for burglary in terms of a baseline — the numbers are relatively steady over time but add a few active burglars to the mix and the stats can skyrocket. Given that framework, northern Capitol HIll and the area covered by the East Precinct’s C1 beat must have had some talented individuals working the area in the first six months of 2011 as burglaries spiked almost 60% above average and thefts climbed nearly 40% in the mostly residential and single-family home dominated area of Capitol Hill. But our analysis of the mid-year 2011 crime trends isn’t all bad news — the numbers shows that street robberies and hold-ups have dropped from last year across most of the Hill and that, overall, crime this year has cooled off from 2010 and returned to “normal” levels. Details on this and the rest of the 6-month 2011 numbers, below.
First, the normal caveats. Our analysis is based on SPD-provided data and changes in policing methods and strategies over the years can impact the numbers. It also doesn’t show you the bigger picture — some of Seattle’s crime rates are at historic lows. Finally, the numbers don’t tell you anything about horrible crimes like the still unsolved Zach Lewis murder.
With that as prelude, here’s a look at total crimes recorded by SPD for the four beats that cover most of Capitol Hill: C1 – northern Capitol Hill, C2 – Broadway and upper Pike/Pine, E1 – Below Broadway and E2 – First Hill and Seattle U. The yellow fever lines mark the totals for each beat in the first six months of 2011. You’ll see the only beat well above recent trends is C1, driven higher by the burglary and theft mentioned above. More on that in a bit. The three other beats are clocking in at about normal recent levels for all incidents with First Hill and Seattle U’s E2 looking downright calm.
The table below breaks out the mid-year category totals for each beat and reveals some of the drivers behind the larger trends discussed above. For example, in C1, the spike in burglaries and thefts is hard to miss whether comparing to 2010 or to the longer three-year trend. After some discomforting break-ins like this where the thief or thieves brazenly entered homes as people slept inside, an increased SPD presence in the area, a few arrests and more awareness from neighbors in the area appeared to stem the tide in late spring. We’ll know more when the annual totals are available in 2012.
Meanwhile, the grid shows some improvement — and some trouble spots that emerged in the first half of the year. Street robberies, muggings and hold-ups dropped in every beat but the heavily populated and highly trafficked C2 around Broadway and upper Pike/Pine. But even there, the numbers clocked in right on pace with 2010. You’re also talking about a category with a small number of events — 14 robberies in C2 in the first six months of 2011 — so one or two incidents could change the trends completely. Still, it’s nice to see the relatively low total in E1 around Powhat/I-5 Shores below Broadway.
Overall, the E2 beat around First Hill and Seattle University has shown the biggest improvements in 2011 as crime in every category dipped from both 2010 and the 3-year-average totals. There were still 1.5 thefts per day in the area — but that was 20% lower than the average.
Car owners are probably also happy to see that vehicle theft totals dropped from 2010’s spikes in all beats but C2. This doesn’t count all the times somebody broke into your car so they could smoke out of the rain, however.
For more on Capitol Hill crime trends, here are numbers provided by East Precinct’s brass on 2010’s violent crime and here is our report on 2010 Capitol Hill crime trends.