Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Don't believe your neighbors: Seattle's crime rate has dropped

The sun sets behind downtown Seattle on Tuesday, June 20, 2018
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
The sun sets behind downtown Seattle.

Is crime in Seattle on the rise? Neighborhood blogs and local TV news shows include alarming reports that might make you think it is.

But Gene Balk—the Seattle Times' FYI Guy—took a close look at the issue. He analyzed crime data across Seattle neighborhoods and found some good news.

Overall, Seattle's crime rate has dipped over the past decade. Balk analyzed data from the Seattle Police Department for the years 2008 to 2010 and compared that to the years 2015 through 2017. He found that the rate went down: from 60 crimes per 1,000 people to 58.

While the raw number of crimes went up, the city's rapid population growth outpaced that rate.

There were great differences among neighborhoods, Balk wrote. The crime rate generally went up in North Seattle and down in South Seattle.

You can see how your neighborhood fared on the interactive map with Balk's story. But before you get too upset, Balk says you should remember that while a neighborhood may have seen its crime rate go up, it might still have a very low rate compared to the rest of the city.

Overall, he says, Seattle's crime rate is low compared to other major cities.

And as a data geek, he has a request: If you're the victim of a crime, report it. Otherwise, he says, it's as if it never happened.

"Having good data on crime is really important to all of us," he said.

Year started with KUOW: 1992
Year started with KUOW: 2015