Seattle continued to contend with an increase in violent crimes and gun violence last year, according to annual crime statistics released Monday.
This report also included residents’ top concerns from the Seattle Police Department’s public safety survey, which include property crime, police capacity and homelessness.
Community concerns were captured in a survey in partnership with Seattle University last October, a way to collect data at the neighborhood level for the department’s Micro Community Policing Plans.
The annual report includes data that is subject to change, depending on delayed reporting, classification changes and investigative updates, according to police. For the most up-to-date data, visit SPD’s crime dashboard at st.news/SPDcrime.
The 2022 data report revealed crime “hot spots” such as the Third Avenue and Pine Street corridor, the corner of 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street, Aurora Avenue, the Northgate and South Park neighborhoods and Westwood Village, according to Detective Judinna Gulpan, a spokesperson for SPD.
Gulpan said the department asks the community to continue to report crime despite longer response times to help police understand where to allocate resources. The department has lost about 525 officers since 2020, she noted.
“The department is moving in the right direction but still has quite a bit of work to address community concerns of safety in their neighborhoods,” Gulpan said via mail.
Here are 5 key takeaways from the police department’s 2022 crime report.
Violent crime rate rises
Last year saw the highest violent crime rate in 15 years, with an increase of 729 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2021 compared to 736 per 100,000 residents last year.
Crime rates represent the number of crimes reported relative to the size of the city’s population. The actual number of violent crimes reported increased about 4% from 2021 to 2022, according to the report.
The increase in crime overall reflects the spike in violent crime that began in 2020 and shows little sign of dropping back to pre-pandemic levels. Homicides increased by 24% and aggravated assault totals continue to be the highest reported in the last 10 years. The majority of homicide victims died from gun violence.
Crime down in fourth quarter
The fourth quarter, October through December, saw a decrease in crime, with notable reductions in aggravated assault and larceny-theft. December had the fewest number of reported crimes citywide in 2022; March had the highest number.
Gun violence is up
Seventy-three percent of the city’s 55 homicide victims died from gun violence. Shootings and shots-fired events were at an all-time high, beating 2021, which held the previous all-time high.
Seattle saw a 19% increase in verified criminal shootings and shots-fired reports citywide compared to 2021, the report states. In 2022, there were 39 fatal shootings, 157 nonfatal shootings and 543 verified shots-fired reports, compared to 32, 142 and 446, respectively, in 2021. This is a 125% increase compared to totals in 2019.
The city saw a 13% increase in overall shootings, both fatal and nonfatal, compared to 2021. Gun violence was more concentrated, particularly in the Chinatown International District, Brighton/Dunlap and Northgate. The percentage of nightlife-related shootings and shots fired nearly doubled between 2021 and 2022.
Motor vehicle theft increased significantly
Motor vehicle thefts increased 30% from 2021 to 2022, and were significantly high when compared to a five-year weighted average, according to the report. There was a noted increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kias, due to the popularity of an internet trend that shows viewers how to easily steal these vehicle makes.
Nearly 70% of stolen vehicles were recovered.
Neighborhoods hit the hardest in 2022 include Northgate, Roosevelt/Ravenna, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill.
Bias incidents down
Bias incidents decreased by 18% and hate crimes decreased by 14%. The total reported bias incidents decreased by 7%. However, bias-based incidents are often underreported, so police statistics may not truly reflect the number of these crimes in Seattle.
Bias incidents, unlike hate crimes, are noncriminal situations in which a person uses offensive words but does not directly threaten a group or person.
Among the 880 total bias-related reports in 2022, 61% involved race and ethnicity, 19% involved sexual orientation, 4% involved religion, 4% involved gender identity and 3% involved homelessness.