Dem-Led City Reports Highest Violent Crime Rate In 15 Years After Slashing Police Budget
Trevor Schakohl on February 7, 2023
Seattle’s violent crime rate rose to its highest point in 15 years in 2022, with reported homicides surging by about 24% compared to 2021, according to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) Year-End Crime Report, more than a year after the city cut its police budget.
Rapes and aggravated assaults increased by about 4% and 5% respectively, contributing to 5,591 total reported violent offenses, a roughly 4% spike, the report shows. Though arson and burglaries declined, 1,596 more motor vehicle thefts were reported, and Seattle ended up with an around 4% higher overall crime in 2022 despite a fourth-quarter reduction.
Seattle’s City Council reduced SPD funding by almost 17% in its 2021 budget following the George Floyd protests of summer 2020. The city’s 2023 budget funds Democratic Mayor Bruce Harrell’s officer recruitment and retention plan but eliminates 30 unfilled SPD positions, The Seattle Times reported.
The SPD lost more than 130 officers in 2022, according to KOMO News.
“It’s no longer theoretical what happens when hundreds of officers leave a police department, we now see the reality of that,” Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen told the outlet. “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.”
Harrell served his first full year as Seattle’s mayor in 2022, claiming in a KOMO News interview released Jan. 3 tat he thought the city was on a “good trajectory.” Harrell referenced his administration’s “holistic approach to our public safety” and lamented “the proliferation of guns in the wrong hands,” a trend the new data seems to reflect.
Seattle saw a record number of shootings or shots fired incidents last year, and SPD took custody of 1,349 firearms, according to the year-end report. The city had 39 fatal shootings and 52 total homicides.
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