Opinion: The Washington Crime Clock

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill provides numbers from report that suggest Washington state public safety is ‘collapsing.’

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill provides numbers from report that suggest Washington state public safety is ‘collapsing’

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

Did you see the Washington Crime Clock? It’s a visual representation of the crime rate in Washington for the worst offenses, and is on page 11 of the Crime in Washington 2021 Report from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC). The Crime Clock shows there’s one crime against persons every five minutes. There’s one crime against society every 31.5 minutes. There’s one crime against property every 1.4 minutes. 

Nancy Churchill
Nancy Churchill

These numbers show clearly that Washington state public safety is collapsing. WASPC Executive Director Steven Strachan noted the annual Crime in Washington 2021 report shows “Violent crimes and murders increased, while the number of officers available to respond decreased in 2021.” Strachan continued, “The report shows that there were 325 murders in 2021 (CIW page 31), an increase of 5.9 percent over 2020, following a 47 percent increase the year before.”

“This is the highest number of murders recorded since WASPC began collecting this data in 1980. Violent crime overall increased 12.3 percent; robbery increased 10.0 percent, and aggravated assaults increased 15.4 percent.”

Even more concerning was the drop in narcotics enforcement. In his report for The Post Millennial, Ari Hoffman pointed out “Drug arrests fell 73.6 percent and drug offenses dropped 60.9 percent. However, many attributed that to municipalities, including in King County … effectively legalizing the offenses by no longer enforcing lower-level drug offenses.”

Narcotics enforcement was basically eliminated by Washington State Supreme Court’s Blake decision, along with the 2022 Democrat-controlled Legislature’s failure to fix the law the court struck down. These issues with the law made it impossible for officers to charge a criminal offense for personal possession of any drug, including heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. Overdose deaths have soared in 2021 as a result of these Democrat failures.

Just don’t lie, Democrats

The election year polls must be terrible, because suddenly Washington Democrats are flip-flopping about their support of law enforcement. Governor Inslee bizarrely stated in a press conference on July 20, “This defund the police movement, I don’t agree with it.”

This is the same Governor Inslee who said “That’s news to me,” when he was asked in 2020 about the violent anti-police riots conducted by radical progressive activists who had just taken over portions of Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

“Representative Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) pointed out in a Facebook post that the governor and other Democrats’ recent pro-police comments run contrary to their actions over the past couple of years. The Democrats’ anti-police agenda is not just one or two isolated bills, but more than 10 different major pieces of legislation passed by the Democrats and signed into law by Governor Inslee. From severely limiting law enforcement’s ability to pursue suspected criminals to decriminalizing possession of lethal hard drugs, the Democrats’ actions have clearly made Washington State a more comfortable place to be a criminal and their sudden pro-police comments are simply an election year gimmick.”

The sheriffs urge voter action

In an unusual move, two prominent Washington Sheriffs encourage voters to vote for law-and-order candidates in the coming elections. Spokane County’s Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Whatcom County’s Sheriff Bill Elfo issued a joint statement about the Crime in Washington 2021 Report. They noted, “The report confirmed what we all know: crime is skyrocketing. Violent crime, murder, rape, and theft are up considerably from last year. This is not a surprise to us.”

The Center Square’s Jeremy Lott noted, “The sheriffs laid the blame for much of the rise in crime at the Legislature’s feet and thus indirectly took aim at the state’s Democratic majority.

“During the 2021 session, law enforcement repeatedly warned our legislators that anti-police legislation would tie the hands of law enforcement, hamper efforts to keep the public safe, and fail to hold those who commit crimes accountable,” they wrote. “These warnings went unheeded. Over a dozen laws ‘reforming’ law enforcement passed the Legislature and were signed into law by the governor.”

Action, action, action!

If you care about public safety, the rule of law, skyrocketing hard drug overdose deaths and rising crime rates you MUST educate yourself on the actions of your legislators.

Public safety and law enforcement votes were always party-line votes during the 2022 session. Republican legislators always voted FOR public safety. Democratic legislators ALWAYS voted to destroy public safety. Governor Inslee signed every anti-public safety bill. All eleven of them. Eleven.

If you have questions about candidates, look up your county’s Republican party and contact them. Most of the county parties have slates of recommended candidates on their websites. They will welcome your phone calls, too! County Republican leaders get out and meet and vet the candidates at multiple events and often know the candidates personally. If you care about public safety, you must vote Republican this year up and down the ticket. Republicans may not be the solution to all your problems, but they will fight to pass legislation that will make your community, wherever you live in Washington state, much, much safer than it is right now.

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

The Crime in Washington 2021 report indicated violent crime is up 12 percent and other crimes are up at similar rates. Do you feel that you and your property is safe?*
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