Car theft up, most of the rest down: 2010 crime, citywide and WS

“The only acceptable crime stat would be no crime in the city,” Seattle Police Chief John Diaz qualified, toward the start of a Tuesday briefing as the last of the 2010 crime statistics were released, finishing the picture of last year in its entirety. We attended the briefing downtown, and reviewed the statistics later, to put together an update including West Seattle specifics.

Citywide headlines included the number of murders – 19, with 15 of them solved – fewest murders since 1956 (three in West Seattle, all solved). Two categories were up – most notably car theft, plus a slight increase in aggravated assaults – while everything else was down. Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, who leads the Investigations Bureau, started the briefing after opening remarks from the chief. Here’s video of their half-hour-long briefing:

(About 21 minutes in, WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand asked Chief Diaz about something Mayor McGinn said in West Seattle last Sunday, regarding a new emphasis on community policing. The chief confirmed that’s under discussion, without offering specifics.)

Aside from this one-sheet breaking down the categories of crimes and listing the citywide numbers, compared to previous years and the “10-year average,” the only other stats available for the year are the monthly precinct-by-precinct sheets posted to the city’s website. From those:


Through the month-by-month breakouts that were posted, we took a look at the two property-crime categories that Southwest Precinct leadership has acknowledged are the most challenging – burglaries and auto thefts. For the year, the SWP area – West Seattle and South Park – had 436 car thefts and 829 burglaries. For car thefts, March 2010 was the low (23) and May 2010 the high (50), while for burglaries, November 2010 was the low (49) and January 2010 the high (95). Compared to a year earlier, burglaries were down (from 983 in 2009) and car thefts were up (from 395 in 2009).

One final set of 2010 numbers – those who think east West Seattle has more crime than west West Seattle might be surprised to hear that the eastern sector (Frank) had fewer burglaries than the western sector (William) – 345 of them were in F, 483 in W. (Here’s the citywide sector map.)

So what are police doing about property crimes? That was discussed during the briefing by Assistant Chief Mike Sanford, who supervises the precincts. He explained how police are looking for micro-crime patterns (which also is another reason why it’s vital that you report even seemingly small crimes) and work to figure out how to deter crime:

You can explore the latest crime statistics further starting with this page on the SPD website – the year-by-year breakout pages are where you will find the precinct-by-precinct links.

3 Replies to "Car theft up, most of the rest down: 2010 crime, citywide and WS"

  • cjboffoli March 9, 2011 (11:04 am)

    Impressive stats, especially considering that the Seattle Police Department actually has less officers on the force now (on a per-capita basis with the Seattle population) than it did ten years ago. A 2010 Seattle Times editorial put the number at 2.16 officers per 1,000 citizens.

  • lucky chick March 9, 2011 (2:41 pm)

    This seems like a good place to call out WSB for reminding us to be vigilant and to call the police when we see something suspicious. Most importantly, thanks for facilitating such quick dissemination of information via this blog (one need refer only to the apprehension of the Jeebs murder suspect for evidence of this!). You really provide an invaluable resource, and I’m sure it’s thwarted more than a few criminals!

    • WSB March 9, 2011 (2:50 pm)

      Thanks, LC, we – and obviously YOU and all WSB’ers are included in that “we” – got a nice shoutout from Ops Lt. Davis during the Chamber of Commerce lunch at the precinct earlier this afternoon, right along those lines. I’ll be writing up the story about the meeting as soon as I get past a couple other things – TR

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