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Thursday, June 6, 2013

South Seattle Crime Is Down (and It's All McGinn's Fault)

Posted by on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 2:55 PM

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?


Comments (16) RSS

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Baconcat 1
All these people who want an electoral redo on that lovely year of 2009 with its high unemployment, higher crime and lack of paid sick leave, a more robust education levy and so on are so intriguing.

It's like they're all "thanks for fixing everything, Mike, but GTFO and let us pretend you didn't do anything because we hate hate hate you because, I dunno, somethin'."
Posted by Baconcat on June 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Bunny Colvin the district commander down there?
Posted by Chali2Na on June 6, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
This is what happens when you lock your politics in place and refuse to budge them over time, facts & stats, or any other influence.
Posted by grkle on June 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Middle Class shrinkage = more middle class young people buying where they can afford = more people living in SE who grew up thinking it was unsafe here = more feeling unsafe.

We didn't change the place we changed the perception and expectation of the average resident.
Posted by nullbull on June 6, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
biffp 5
If it weren't for McGinn, they'd be building the tunnel that will never be finished. Good job Mike.
Posted by biffp on June 6, 2013 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Baconcat 6
Maybe they just aren't washing their quinoa enough
Posted by Baconcat on June 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
It seems like South Seattle crime that's being REPORTED to police is down, not South Seattle crime is down.
Posted by kdb on June 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
As demographics in cities shift across America, I think we're going to hear more and more anecdotal evidence of crime as it's happening to a more connected population—despite crime being a historic lows by any practical metric. It's happening in the city where I live, and South Seattle seems just as ripe for such phenomenon.
Posted by Dougsf on June 6, 2013 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Come spend some time in Rainier Valley, Cienna, before you rely on SPD, statistics, and a couple you met at a bbq (and clearly didn't like) before you declare South Seattle safer than ever.

Reported crimes may actually be down, unreported crime may be down, but gang violence is on the rise.…
I'm in Rainier Beach and during the past year, gunfire has gotten more frequent and across a larger range of the valley. Muggings and attempted assaults seem to be happening more frequently in the long walk from the Link Light Rail stations at Othello and Rainier Beach. And I'll be surprised if things don't get worse this summer at Rainier & Austin:…

My hope is that crime will continue to drop, and maybe those stats are correct, but McGinn opinions aside, if you're going to stick it to some distasteful people you met at a party, please don't pretend like government statistics are the last word. You'll make Twain cry.
Posted by typingmonkey on June 6, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
south downtown 10
crime is down across the US. Thanks, Mike!
Posted by south downtown on June 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 11
All three local broadcast stations have cut their news staffs to virtually nothing but the talking heads that read the news. With that kind of staff, all they can cover is crime news, big fires, traffic jams, and staged political events. Crime in Seattle--reported, unreported, gang-related--is down to 1940s levels. The community policing program is succeeding beyond all expectations. But the news reporting of crime is way up, because television news has abandoned serious journalism. And, BTW, your quiona-eating friends have driven up the world price to the point it is creating starvation among indigenous South Americans. Fuck 'em, they know less about nutrition than they do about crime.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on June 6, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
You never tried to get a 911 dispatcher to get a call through in South Seattle. Have you? South Seattle police are understaffed. I have experienced wait times of 3 hours for an officer, while a woman was being beaten up by a man. It gets to the point were you just don't call because, no one is going to put the call through because it's South Seattle crime happens (duh!) or the police are so spread out, they can't make it in a timely matter to stop what is happening. But really, it's an election year, stats don't lie.
Posted by Redhots on June 6, 2013 at 5:27 PM · Report this
KOMO news just showed a story about West Seattle seeing an increase in break ins. This in a "safe" neighbor. So maybe the crooks just moved their game.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on June 6, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Rotten666 14

Yup. Gang war is just heating up.

I think perception also comes from unresolved quality of life issues, such as the open air drug markets, gang houses, etc. When you walk past the nonsense at the Dollar Mart between Rainier and MLK for the better part of a decade, one tends to get the impression that crime may be worse than it actually is.
Posted by Rotten666 on June 6, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
fletc3her 15
If eating quinoa isn't a crime it should be.
Posted by fletc3her on June 6, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
this writer is hard to stomach. makes me want to vote against mcginn and never read the stranger again simply due to the arrogance which both exhibit -- mcginn and the writer/newspaper. i might have found the facts head turning, but instead all I could think about was how distasteful this person was -- morally superior, condescending, snarky...kind of like the Mayor himself. No wonder the two get along so well. It's too bad, too, because instead of attracting supporters with honey (crime down!) this article turns them away with vinegar (every sentence ends in snark). I probably wouldn't like the quinoa eaters either (if they were really that two dimensional) but this article makes them seem like long suffering saints compared to the author.

One other thing...did the author happen to check whether crime spiked in the preceding years, so that coming down from 2012 was only a relative dip compared to overall average? Did the author happen to list any policies that McGinn could take credit for that actually reduced crime? Did the author happen to actually listen to the legimate concerns those of us in the south end have about crime, rather than merely lecturing us about our lives from upon high -- either in North Seattle or the Hill? No? Yeah...didn't think so. If crime HAS gone down in a substantiative way, I'd venture it did so more in response to our excellent police force and despite who the clown in charge of the Mayor's office was rather than because of anything he actually did. Afterall, his main claims to fame have been obstruction and political grandstanding...I don't see how those could bring crime down.
Posted by ScottInHillmanCity on July 29, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this

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