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As voters ponder new path for Seattle City Hall, here’s a look at Capitol Hill’s 2021 crime stats

(Image: SPD)

In 2021, there have been around 134 break-ins and burglaries reported across the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct every month. That’s about one burglary per day better than 2020 as pandemic shuttered businesses and fewer people out and about resulted in a hard to fathom 60% year over year spike in break-ins.

But compared to 2015, 2021’s East Precinct burglaries are up about 43% when controlled for population growth. Compared to a decade ago? 84%.

Auto theft, another property crime category that plagues big city existence, also matches the pattern from SPD’s own reporting system — with reports down in 2021 compared to 2020, up from 2015 and 2010.

It’s against this seesaw pattern that the city’s voters find themselves pondering some of the key questions from months of Black Lives Matter protests and efforts to transition traditional public safety spending from police departments to new community, addiction, and mental health-based approaches in the form of its November General Election ballot. “What if Seattle had an abolitionist City Attorney?,” indeed.

If crime statistics have anything to do with it, across the East Precinct the messages are mixed. Crime on Capitol Hill is down in 2021. And also up.

EAST PRECINCT SeaStat Offense 2021 2021 projected 2020 2019 2018 2015 2010
Violent Crime Homicide 4 5 12 5 3 5 2
Rape 32 40 51 78 58 14 14
Robbery 209 261 229 218 253 229 238
Aggravated Assault 408 510 507 459 532 376 229
Total 653 816 799 760 846 624 483
Property Crime Arson 38 48 38 16 20 13 10
Burglary 1,288 1,610 1,896 1,172 1,168 1,195 989
Larceny-Theft 2,683 3,354 3,246 3,402 3,178 4,357 3,387
Motor Vehicle Theft 567 709 707 466 455 528 445
Total 4,576 5,720 5,887 5,056 4,821 6,093 4,831
Grand Total Total 5,229 6,536 6,686 5,816 5,667 6,717 5,314

According to the most recent quarterly update of SPD’s statistics, reported property crimes have remained steady across the East Precinct in 2021 with the major exception of the drop-off in burglaries after 2020’s massive spike. Total reported property crime here has actually remained stable since 2015 — but increased around 34% since 2010.

But critics of the city’s policing and prosecution of crimes are right — there really have been more reported arson fires across Capitol Hill and the Central District with 2021’s pace exceeding last year and likely to triple and quadruple the totals seen five and ten years ago here.

The critics’ narratives break, however, when it comes to one of the biggest categories of property crime. Larceny and theft is on pace for only a small bump from 2020 when controlling for population and reported thefts are actually down from a surge in theft five years ago. It’s possible but unlikely that some of the most targeted businesses have given up and stopped reporting the crime. San Francisco has also been wrestling with concerns about a “shoplifting surge” despite data that doesn’t show an increase in reported incidents.

The most serious crime categories, meanwhile, also provide mixed messages.

Reports of assault, the most common violent crime, are down slightly in the East Precinct year over year in 2021, but up more than 40% vs. 2015 when controlled for population, and more than 150% in comparison to 2010’s total.

Homicides are on pace to drop in half here with four people murdered across the East Precinct in 2021. In 2010, the precinct recorded two homicides, in 2015, five.

Robberies, meanwhile, have climbed in every comparison — vs. 2020, 2015, and 2010. We’re on pace to record about five ripoffs and hold-ups a week here in 2021 about 24% percent more than we saw in 2010. But included in those totals are crimes that may be missing from SPD’s theft totals. If a shoplifter brandishes a weapon or makes contact with a security guard during an attempted theft, the crime can be and usually is reported as a robbery. SPD doesn’t break out street robberies as a separate category, a crime type CHS can report has dropped precipitously in the last five years in a review of our archives.

Officials have, meanwhile, warned of an increase in gun violence in Seattle and across King County during the pandemic.

With all that in the mix, crime in 2021 is on pace to drop about 1% across the East Precinct thanks to the massive downtick in reported burglaries. And the story here isn’t that much different from the city as a whole where the totals should come in about 2% lower than 2020, up 6% from 2015, and up 28% from 2010, all controlled for population in the increasingly dense city.

That first comparison — vs. 2020 — represents a reopening Capitol Hill, Central District, and Seattle compared to the city locked down, emptied, and stressed under COVID. The rest represents a shift in which the city has gained 400,000 people and gone through multiple recipes at City Hall.

SEATTLE CRIME RATES
Considering the city’s 13% population growth, Seattle’s crime rates, like those in the East Precinct, show the jump in reported property crime. Meanwhile, across the city as a whole, the violent crime rate has climbed about 8.5% since 2010.

(Source: SPD)

 

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Moving Soon
Moving Soon
1 month ago

Too bad people vote with their hurt white feelings and not statistical reality.

CH Resident
CH Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Honestly, it feels like you’re describing yourself.

Born on CapHill
Born on CapHill
1 month ago
Reply to  CH Resident

Completely

Sheryl
Sheryl
1 month ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Did you look at the statistics? Guess not. And is it CHS policy to post language like this?

CD Born n Raised
CD Born n Raised
1 month ago

So Violent crime is down with more people? Nice.

Property crime is petty. No one is hurt when an Amazon toaster is stolen. So it’s encouraging.

...
...
1 month ago

“No one is hurt when they are robbed”

The sheer level of delusion that regularly crops up on Seattle-themed news websites is really something.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
1 month ago

No, that’s not what the data says. Most crime, including assault, is up by 50-100% over five years ago.

It is only down compared to last year, which was a uniquely crime-infested year in our neighborhood due to COVID and the near-daily protests. Comparing 2021 (a pretty normal year) to 2020 is comparing apples to oranges. Comparing 2021 to 2015 is apples-to-apples.

CD Born n Raised
CD Born n Raised
1 month ago

You are misconstruing the data. Are you not looking at policy changes and laws and enforcement amount changes? Quotas by cops?

seawall
seawall
1 month ago

You said “violent crime is down with more people”, Claire then said “no, that’s not what the data says”. She’s right, the data in this article is presented in confusing way but it does say that both violent crime crime and property crime are up. And keep in mind, these numbers are just the reported crime numbers. Many, many people have given up reporting crime altogether because they know there’s no help coming if they call 911. Hopefully Seattle will choose a better path this election.

Privilege
Privilege
1 month ago
Reply to  seawall

And keep in mind, these numbers are just the reported crime numbers. Many, many people have given up reporting crime altogether”

In an article about crime stats, it’s telling when a person uses the “many people” line.

The people who’ve “given up” reporting crime seem to primarily exist in comment sections on crime articles.

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago

Wait, what….
Violent crimes
2020 586/100,000 people
2015 579/100,000 people

That’s not down… and no, I’m not super impressed if there’s been a slight drop from last year, which was exceptional.

and wtf – 200+% more arsons and rapes than in 2015!

I’m also not particularly impressed if reports of theft are driving down some numbers… Businesses are exhausted and simply don’t even bother with shoplifters these days. People just brazenly walk in, load up and walk out. The people working at the stores are so used to it they barely lift their eyes anymore, even when the door alarm goes off. I’ve seen it myself at Lowes and Safeway… Safeway has taken to locking up the shrimp. You cannot get a bag of shrimp without asking – the freezer case is full of empty bags marked ‘display only’ 🤦

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Nandor

The article does not claim that crime is down. Who are you arguing with?

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

This doesn’t always thread as expected… Look up a few comments, you’ll see someone who’s claiming crime is down…

Seafood
Seafood
1 month ago
Reply to  Nandor

Wow, first laundry detergent, now shrimp is pretty over the top. REI locks up jackets now too, and even when they unlock them they leave a cable threaded through it until you buy it.

The pendulum is going to swing back at some point, and is going to be equally as extreme. It’s pretty crazy to see people justifying and playing down crimes, as long as they don’t happen to them of course.

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  Seafood

And that was before I visited the Target downtown….. the place looks so sad… They really have given up. About 1/2 of the shelves are just empty. Half of what’s left on display and easily pocketed was locked up in anti-theft boxes. It’s not even worth bothering to go in there anymore. The next time I feel the need to go buy something there, I’ll be driving over to Factoria :(

Bbbbb
Bbbbb
1 month ago
Reply to  Seafood

Agree. Really sad to be in QFC Sat. morning, waiting to use self check out, I head for an empty place as the fellow there packs up and leaves, only to find he hasn’t paid. The clerk went after him to tell him he hadn’t paid and the guy just shrugged and left. I asked the clerk if that happened a lot. She sighed and said “All the time.” I can imagine people starting to think “I’m a sap for paying for my groceries! I’ll just take them next.” Who cares if the cost is passed on to other shoppers?

Born on CapHill
Born on CapHill
1 month ago
Reply to  Bbbbb

SOOO who will you be voting for on Tuesday?1?

Born on CapHill
Born on CapHill
1 month ago
Reply to  Seafood

Why are you so sure the pendulum will be swinging back? I’m always interested to hear about this theory, because I feel like the espousers clinging to it, do so,so they feel ok about the future?

CKc
CKc
1 month ago

Trump wasn’t a pendulum swing to you? They weren’t reacting to anything in your view?

Born on CapHill
Born on CapHill
1 month ago
Reply to  CKc

Yes it was CKc, and I apologize in advance for going dark here, but in order to answer your question I have to. The POS’s win in 2016 may have been the beginning of the end of democracy in the USA. This pendulum, if something drastic isn’t done (not sure what that would be, but if the Dems could agree on something in Congress and show a unified front, that would be a great start!!) may swing back (or not, and just be pushed there by the POS) to the POS and alt-right AND STAY THERE. Have you seen the new *ucker Carlson conspiracy propaganda movie yet- called by the Atlantic a “documentary”? This is where we are as a country, the pendulum very likely may not be allowed to “swing” in the future. 

farrelro
farrelro
1 month ago

I’m not a one issue voter, but I have heard more gunfire the last year on the hill, than the last 15 combined. Statistics show age plays a much bigger role in voter decisions in Seattle. I think I’m getting old.

CD Born n Raised
CD Born n Raised
1 month ago
Reply to  farrelro

I am 45 years old and I have been voting all my life for the candidate that speaks to the poor over the rich or business owners. The people who matter are the workers and marginalized. Period.

Park neighbor
Park neighbor
1 month ago

Unfortunately, all candidates like Mosqueda, Gonzalez, NTK, Oliver, and Sawant do is speak to the poor. It is time that we elect new leaders that have the skills to govern and go beyond empty words and virtue signaling.

DefundThem
DefundThem
1 month ago

It’s against this seesaw pattern that the city’s voters find themselves pondering some of the key questions from months of Black Lives Matter protests and efforts to transition traditional public safety spending from police departments to new community, addiction, and mental health-based approaches…”

, I love the blog, but this is disingenuous. What efforts have been actually made to transition traditional public safety spending? Have we hired hundreds of social workers and therapists to partner with or take the lead from police on non-violent 911 calls? Have we established rigorous in-patient addiction treatment with the funds we’ve “saved” from the loss of hundreds of police officers over the last year?

booper
booper
1 month ago

I’d just like to see the tent village popping up in the corner park to be cleared so that the kids in the neighborhood can return to the playground.

D3 Resident
D3 Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  booper

I would like people to have a home to go to instead of being out in the cold

C Doom
C Doom
1 month ago

Pretty easy to have crime go down when everyone knows its pointless to report it. Cops tell you not to bother reporting unless its a felony. Grocery stores get cleared out by armed gangs of homeless now and nobody can do anything to stop it. Cops won’t show up. SPOG is paying us back for “defund” activism and the progressives on the Council approve never enforcing laws.

Born on CapHill
Born on CapHill
1 month ago
Reply to  C Doom

Can we please stop calling the Alt-Left “Progressives” ? Progressive infers “going forward”, which I DO NOT believe this political form of Alt-Left is doing.

Park neighbor
Park neighbor
1 month ago

I agree. I have identified as a progressive all my life, but have shifted away from the label since the CHAZ debacle and abolish the police nonsense. There is nothing progressive about creating dystopia, shutting down free speech and mimicking the scorched earth politics of the far right. The alt-left is a more apt term for the Sawant, NTK, Oliver, Morales, Mosqueda, Gonzalez crowd.

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago

I am honestly not sure which one makes me feel happier (showing how disillusioned I am with the current crop of Progressives who is as divisive as Trump):

– Trump losing in 2020
– Gonzalez, Nikita Oliver, Mosqueda, NTK, and Sewant losing in 2021

D3 Resident
D3 Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Kevin

LOL you wish

Nandor
Nandor
1 month ago
Reply to  D3 Resident

No need to wish… the count isn’t quite over yet, but with the splits at around 60/40 so far against Gonzalez, Oliver and NTK, I think we’re looking good for at least 3 out of 4. Too bad Mosqueda’s challenger wasn’t stronger, but that ones still a close race.