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Seattle's violent crime rate hits 15-year high following defund police movement

  Seattle’s violent crime rate reached a 15-year high in 2022, according to stats recently released by the Seattle Police Department. More t...

 Seattle’s violent crime rate reached a 15-year high in 2022, according to stats recently released by the Seattle Police Department. More than a year prior, the city slashed the department’s budget during the height of the defund the police movement, the Daily Caller reported.

According to the SPD’s year-end crime report, homicides spiked by approximately 24% last year compared to 2021. The report revealed that rapes increased by about 4% while aggravated assaults jumped 5%. Arson and burglaries declined. In total, 5,591 violent offenses were reported in 2022.

There were 39 fatal shootings and 52 total homicides in Seattle last year.

“Overall citywide crime increased by four percent (1,834) compared to 2021,” the report stated. “The percentages may appear lower but reported crime for 2021 was at an all-time high. 2022 totals have now exceeded that with 49,577 reported violent and property crimes. Aggravated Assault and Motor Vehicle Theft were significantly high in 2022 when compared to a five-year weighted average.”

The report noted that the 30% increase in motor vehicle thefts was likely due partly to a popular TikTok trend showing users how to steal Hyundais and Kias. Authorities were able to recover nearly 70% of stolen vehicles.

Seattle University worked with SPD to survey residents regarding their top public-safety concerns. According to the department’s report, 23% of residents stated they were most concerned about theft, burglary, and break-ins. Another 21% of those surveyed reported that their top safety concern was homelessness, and 17% said their most significant concern in Seattle was drugs.

Former Mayor Jenny A. Durkan issued a statement in November 2020 regarding city funding: “In September, I outlined four priorities: continuing to invest in our historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the City’s largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice, addressing our homelessness and housing crisis, and advancing public safety while reimagining policing.”

Following the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020, the city council voted to reduce SPD’s funding by nearly 17% in 2021. The following year, the SPD lost more than 130 officers.

“It’s no longer theoretical what happens when hundreds of officers leave a police department, we now see the reality of that. We know a lot of people are frustrated when they call 911. They are waiting for the police, they know that there’s a staffing shortage,” Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen told KOMO.

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