A new analysis ranked the safest and least safe cities in our state based on crime statistics. Plus, there's some good news about crime in Washington overall.
Feeling safe in Seattle?
If not, you might feel more secure in Snoqualmie, Oak Harbor, Sunnyside, West Richland or Enumclaw. Those were named Washington’s five safest cities based on an analysis of violent-crime and property-crime statistics released this week by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade organization for home security businesses.
Kent, Federal Way, Tacoma, Spokane and University Place were found to be the least safe out of 72 Washington cities.
Seattle ranked 46th, with 4,564 violent crimes and 37,934 property crimes as reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Seattle has one of the highest rates of property crime among major U.S. cities, and nearly half of those involve vehicles, Seattle Times FYI Guy columnist Gene Balk reported last year.
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According to the study, Washington state’s overall per-capita rates of violent crime and property crime come in about 19 percent below the national average.
To find the crime rates, the council added up the number of violent crimes (murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and property crimes (which include burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson) in a city, then divided that number by a city’s population. In addition, the number of total crimes was divided by the number of law enforcement employees to arrive at what the study calls “police adequacy.” The two tallies combined to create a safety score for each city.
Overall, data from 8,793 law-enforcement agencies, representing more 193 million United States residents, were factored into rankings done for each state, according to the study.
Joan Pliego, a spokeswoman for the City of Snoqualmie, said it’s the fourth time in four years that the city has been ranked among the state’s safest.
“It’s pretty exciting for us and we’re thrilled to receive (this recognition),” she said. “Our police force and fire department are great. The police have a motto that ‘No call is too small,’ and they really mean it.”
But Sgt. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, which contracts to provide police service to University Place near Tacoma, had questions about the list’s credibility.
“It doesn’t seem right. It’s bizarre,” Troyer said. “University Place is actually one of the areas where we have hardly any issues. It’s got the highest real-estate values, the most sought-after schools, and it’s really quiet.”
He said the list put out by the trade council is overly simplified and misleading.
For example, he said University Place had only one homicide in 2017. Last year, two men were killed and their bodies left just inside the small city, which “doubled the city’s murder rate,” he said.
Troyer added that crime was down in University Place in all other categories.
“My grandchildren all live in University Place and I could not be more thrilled,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say their list could use more work.”
MORE ON CRIME DATA:
- Yakima County recorded in 2018 the highest homicide total in 38 years
- ‘Mean world syndrome’: In some Seattle neighborhoods, fear of crime exceeds reality
- The Overcast podcast: Data columnist Gene Balk talks ‘mean world syndrome,’ Seattle neighborhood crime
- Crime rates down in most Seattle neighborhoods — but there’s a big divide between north and south
- In Seattle’s Sodo district, frustration mounts amid RVs, drugs and skyrocketing crime