I was at a bbq recently and found myself in conversation with a couple from Rainier Valley. We got talking about the mayor's race—they were both big Tim Burgess fans—and they insisted that their neighborhood is less safe today than it was when Mike McGinn took office in 2010. In fact, according to this couple, everything was better pre-McGinn. Colors were brighter! Food tasted tastier! Even the sex was perfunctory, instead of nonexistent!
Anyway, I decided to check into their crime claims because... I don't know, probably because they were quinoa eaters who seemed allergic to both jokes and salt, and I wanted to see if they were wrong so I could gloat a little bit. Sometimes I'm an asshole like that.
And guess what? It turns out they're wrong! According to statistics compiled by the Seattle Police Department (which you can find over here):
South Precinct continues to show the largest decrease in major crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft and vehicle theft) of any of the precincts, down 19 percent from one year ago, and with year to date double digit decreases reflected in both Violent and Property Crimes.
Among Violent Crimes, aggravated assaults are down by double digits (-31 percent) and despite a 5 percent increase in robberies, the overall decline in Violent Crimes in 18 percent, compared with 2012.
Among Property Crimes, a 27 percent decrease in burglaries and a 19 percent decline in larceny/thefts have combined with an even level of vehicle thefts for an overall Property Crime decline of 19 percent compared with last year.
The total for major crimes in the South Precinct in April was the lowest total for the month in six years, a trend that continued in February and March.
Most of that data pertains to the last year only—not the last four years of McGinn's sex-killing, tyrannical reign—but the downward trend continues when you examine city-wide crime going back the last 25 years. "The lowest year for reported Major Crimes was 2012 when 34,607 such crimes were recorded in the City," SPD reports.
Granted, there can be a huge discrepancy between actual crime rates and people's perceptions of safety. Perhaps south Seattle has only become seemingly more threatening to finicky quinoa-eaters?