Washington state saw violent crime increase in 2022

Both the FBI and a state law enforcement association say violent crime in Washington increased in 2022, running contrary to overall national findings.
File photo


Washington state’s violent crime numbers rose an estimated 1.06%, according to FBI statistics

Randy Bracht
The Center Square Washington

Both the FBI and a state law enforcement association say violent crime in Washington increased in 2022, running contrary to overall national findings.

Last week, the bureau released data on more than 11 million criminal offenses reported across the U.S. in the prior year. FBI’s estimates showed that national violent crime decreased an estimated 1.7% in 2022 compared to 2021.

However, during the same period, Washington state’s violent crime numbers rose an estimated 1.06%, according to FBI statistics.

While there was some difference in compiling the information, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs agreed in its annual Crime in Washington report issued in July that the state did experience increased rates of murders, violent crimes and property offenses in 2022.

“Other data may show crime has decreased in some parts of the United States, but overall crime has continued to rise (in Washington),” said Steven D. Strachan, the association’s executive director.

Statistics were compiled from 231 law enforcement agencies – state, county, municipal, and tribal – then reported to the FBI and included in the bureau’s newly released report, Strachan said in an update Thursday.

Among the state findings:

  • A total of 394 murders were committed in Washington last year, an increase of 16.6% over 2021 and the highest number since WASPC began collecting such data in 1980. The association also noted that homicides have increased 96% since 2019.
  • Violent crimes, which include assaults and rape, rose 8.9% last year while more-generalized “crimes against persons, property, and society” also increased in 2022. Among them, motor vehicle thefts spiked 34%.
  • Domestic violence offenses comprised 45.9% of all “crimes against persons.”
  • A total of 544 hate crime incidents were reported last year.
  • Not everything went up: arrests for drug or narcotic violations totaled 1,444, a significant drop from 2,163 arrests in 2021. That undoubtedly stems from the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision in the “Blake” case which ruled that the state’s felony drug possession law was unconstitutional.
  • For Washington’s population of 7.86 million residents, there were 10,666 fulltime commissioned officers in the state last year – the nation’s lowest percentage ratio per capita – and the total was 70 fewer officers than in 2021. In 2022, there were also 2,375 reported cases of officers being assault, an increase of 20.7%, with two officers killed in the line of duty.

The annual report, said Strachan, is intended to provide “data-driven information” to residents, elected officials, and law enforcement about crime in their communities. That includes policy makers who are encouraged to develop “balanced approaches that respect victims of crime and increase safety for all Washingtonians,” he said in July.

In addition to the State v. Blake felony drug possession ruling, recent factors affecting law enforcement have included legislation that restricts police vehicle pursuits and the ability of officers to approach individuals in public settings when crimes were recently reported in the vicinity.

Organized under state law, WASPC was founded in 1963 and has more than 900 members including 39 county sheriffs, 240 police chiefs and representation from the Washington State Patrol, Washington Department of Corrections, tribal police, and several federal agencies.

WASPC said its numbers are derived from submissions to the National Incident-Based Reporting System and should not be directly compared to the FBI’s “Crime in the United States 2022” report, which may use estimations or omit agencies that have not submitted for all 12 months for 2022.

The FBI, in its summary, said a “hierarchy rule” only requires the most serious offense in a case to be counted. The descending order of violent crimes are homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, followed by property crimes of burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft. Arson cases were counted if committed in conjunction with another violent or property crime.

In its Washington data, the FBI said the majority of crimes are committed by males between the ages of 29 and 39. In most cases, the relationship between offender and victim was unknown (8,619) or involved a stranger (5,984). Others involved an acquaintance (2,718), boyfriend/girlfriend (2,258), otherwise known person (2,021), child (724), spouse (713), friend (655), parent (438), neighbor (430), or sibling (380).

Most of the crimes occurred in residences and homes (11,274), followed by highway/street/alley/sidewalk (6,898), parking lots or garages (2,518), grocery stores (1,352), and department or discount stores (1,234).

This report was first published by The Center Square Washington.


Also read:

Receive comment notifications
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
buy viagra online where can i buy viagra
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
buy viagra online where can i buy viagra
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x