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Monday, November 3, 2008

Crime Is Actually Down in Southeast Seattle

posted by on November 3 at 14:08 PM

South Seattle residents have been freaking out over a perceived spike in violent crime in neighborhoods like New Holly, Rainier Beach and Beacon Hill in the last few months.

In September, neighbors met with the SPD to talk about the supposed crime wave. The department wasn’t very forthcoming with info and was fairly non-committal about how much crime had increased, but SPD representatives assured neighbors that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Despite several high-profile shootings in the area and residents’ claims that they’re plaged by shootings, drug sales and prostitution happening in broad daylight, SPD’s statistics indicate that crime is actually down in Southeast Seattle.

According to SPD records for the South Precinct—which covers everything between Georgetown and Lake Washington south if I-90—as of the end of September, there have been 821 assaults—including 401 shootings—193 strong-arm robberies, 120 burglaries and 9 murders.

Last year, there were 1,214 assaults, 202 strong-arm robberies, 955 burglaries and 7 murders (statistics on shootings aren’t available) in the South Precinct. That’s 400 fewer assaults, and 800 fewer burglaries.

In 2006 there were 1,388 assaults, 232 strong-arm robberies, 1218 burglaries and 6 murders.

Yes, there has been an uptick in homicides but assaults and burglaries appear to be way down. Again, we’ve still got to get through November and December, but it would seem that Southeast Seattle isn’t under siege. Of course, there will be folks who believe that SPD isn’t accurately recording/reporting incidents or that people aren’t calling because they feel there isn’t an adequate police response or presence in the neighborhood.

Despite the apparent drop in crime, someone fired at least 20 shots at a Beacon Hill home over the weekend.

As long as things like this keep happening, people are going to stay scared.

RSS icon Comments


All of these crimes and Charles is only slogging about Amanda Knox and a bunch of boobs?

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 3, 2008 2:13 PM

When they finally run all the darkies out of the city and move them all to Tukwilla and Auburn, THEN we might be crime and grime free. But as long as the negro race is allowed to run free, then god fearing and decent white people will always pay a price.

Posted by ecce homo | November 3, 2008 2:43 PM
Again, we’ve still got to get through November and December
We're 10 months into the year. 10 / 12 = .83

1214 / 1388 = .87

.87 > .83, so assaults are up!

202 / 232 = .87

.87 > .83, so strong-arm robberies are up!

955 / 1218 = .78

.78 < .83, so burglaries are down!

7 / 6 = 1.17

1.17 > .83 so murders are way up!

Crime is up, Jonah, not down.

Posted by elenchos | November 3, 2008 2:44 PM

This town is full of hand-wringers and professional crybabies.

Posted by Wah Wah Wah | November 3, 2008 2:52 PM

look, im all for living in crime free communities and one murder is one too many. ive lived on mlk and orcas since moving here from philly. and i can say with all honesty, crime has been down here for a looooooong time. stuff still happens, but the rainier valley is not as it was in the 90's when i moved here. there were way more visible gangs back then, more bgd's more crips, more bloods, granted, compared to philly this place seemed like disneyland, but stuff still happened in the 90's. lets just say that columbia and hillman city were not what they are today.

folks from crime free areas are always gonna freak out more and thats fine, but the whole, gangs are exploding, crime is out of control and the valley is death valley is nonsense, and reporters should know better.

the article published by the stranger had a a quote from a couple of new brighton dunlap residents, saying how the police chopper keeps them up most nights. what nonsense, and something that could have easily been verified with the SPD or the Sheriff. somebody obviously wanting to pretend they live in compton . i think that chopper circled the valley twice in the last three years.

yes there are problems and crime, like any major city, but is pretty damn safe around here and there are a lot less gang bangers and drug dealers than there were in the 90's.

the less crime the better, but sometimes those headlines are just silly. and those stats dont surprise me at all.

Posted by SeMe | November 3, 2008 2:52 PM

Oops, that was 2006 vs 2007. Here is 2007 vs the first 10 months of 2008:

821 / 1214 = .68 assaults are down somewhat

193/ 202 = .95 strong arm robberies are up

120 / 1218 = .098 so burglaries have taken a freakish, mysterious nose-dive to a tiny fraction of what they were in the previous two years.

9 / 7 = 1.29 so murders are way up, for the second year in a row.

Still doesn't look that good to me. Can anyone explain how burglaries plunged to less than one tenth what they were in the previous two years? That 120 number is fishy.

Posted by elenchos | November 3, 2008 2:55 PM

Living in fear never works.


Posted by Will in Seattle | November 3, 2008 2:58 PM

Up, down, who cares - what matters is that the level of crime is totally unacceptable. A little outside the scope of the article, but I transplanted from Cap Hill to the ID, and the amount of BS people over here are expected to put up with compared to the white hipster zone leaves me enraged. If 15th avenue was taken over nightly by roving gangs of occasionally violent lunatics, that shit would get clamped down tomorrow with much wailing and gnashing from The Stranger, the mainstream local media and the community at large. But somehow it's largely acceptable for the families and hardworking residents of Chinatown to have to retreat behind closed doors after 7pm.

Posted by MAX HATS | November 3, 2008 4:41 PM

The problem is that you retreat behind closed doors after 7 pm.

You don't stop crime by fearing it.

You stop it by making a show of force and shaming it.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 3, 2008 5:02 PM

"But somehow it's largely acceptable for the families and hardworking residents of Chinatown to have to retreat behind closed doors after 7pm."

Only because they don't make a stink. And they don't make a stink because they've got their own secrets. Chinatown is more than just a scenic tourist destination. There's some nasty shit going on down there behind those closed doors.

Posted by Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown. ... | November 3, 2008 5:06 PM

The reason some of us don't believe the official crime stats is that they're wrong. The city itself has admitted it.

Posted by JvA | November 3, 2008 5:07 PM

Coincidentally, the P-I published a bullshit statement from the medical examiner's office this morning, saying there were no shooting homicides in Seattle between April and October. (Ignoring at least three that happened during that time.)

Posted by JvA | November 3, 2008 5:10 PM

FWIW, 401 shooting out of 821 assaults is a shitload of shootings.

Year after year, region by region, firearm incidents comprise about 20% of aggravated assaults -- "unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury" -- which category excludes the garden-variety shoves and spits that fill out the assault inventory.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | November 3, 2008 5:20 PM

Yeah, I've lived in Fremont, Sand Point, Lake City, Capitol Hill . . . never had any problems with crime. Now I live on Beacon Hill, and my car (and my neighbors' cars) has been broken into and my mail is stolen constantly. There is rarely visible police presence, unlike on Capitol Hill. I called the police to ask if there was anything that could be done, and the guy basically laughed at me and said that if I didn't like it, I should move.

Apparently the SPD thinks that, if you're going to live with brown people, you're going to live with crime. Deal with it.


Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 3, 2008 5:20 PM

So now Capitol Hill is "crime free"? Convenient how the "crime waves" come and go for the citizens of the Slog. It wasn't that long ago that we were all told to be petrified by the prospect of straight people on Broadway.

As long as everything can be blamed on the SPD, and not the "brown people" everything is fine.

I wonder how the "brown people" on the force feel about that?

Posted by Happy Shiny People | November 3, 2008 6:08 PM

@ 6

A likely reason the burglaries are down so much is that SPD has stopped responding to them.

In order for a crime event to be recorded, officers have to respond to either a "call for service" (i.e. most commonly a 911 call) or see something themselves (i.e. called an "on-view "). But its only if they find something suspicious or a crime in progress do they file an 'incident report.' It is these incidents reports that become the the crime data commonly used to track crimes per year.

If officers have essentially de-prioritized burglaries or if takes 12 to 24 hours (or never) for them to respond to a homeowner who comes home and finds their home burglarized then fewer incident reports get filed for burglaries.

That's the first thing I would check out regarding the burglary statistics. Unless of course its something like a typo and someone left a "0" off the number.

Posted by I am your Mother | November 4, 2008 12:19 AM

please PLEASE view JvA's links above. It is outrageous that the police statistics are so totally screwed up. It is more outrageous that the media just buys into it. The residents are perceiving a spike in violence because a spike in violence is taking place. Why would you automatically give more credit to police statistics than to what real people say they are actually experiencing?

Posted by banannze | November 4, 2008 9:54 AM

I enjoy repeating myself, so I'll ask again. How do burglaries suddenly plummet to 1/10 the previous level? Especially when other crime is flat or increasing?

Either there is some amazing new burglary prevention program that the SPD is keeping a secret, or somebody is lying.

Posted by elenchos | November 4, 2008 10:07 AM

I went to Redmond High School in the 90's and routinely heard people wail and gnash their teeth about the invasion of LA gangs that was surrounding our family valuing community. Since age 13, I got away from the suburbs and spent every minute I could in the city which I considered the real world. I frequently heard people say they never go into Seattle because of all the violent crime there.

The moral of the story is: people are full of shit when it comes to what they should and shouldn't be afraid of. And police statistics are much more likely to be right than some neighborhood turd-fondler's perception of a crime wave.

Posted by Luke Baggins | November 5, 2008 11:45 AM

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