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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Major crimes down in Seattle in 2006

2/7/2007  12:00:00 PM

Major crimes down in Seattle in 2006

Seattle one of the safest major metropolitan cities in America

SEATTLE -- Crime data for 2006 indicates that Seattle residents are still living in one of the safest major metropolitan cities in America, according to statistics released today by Mayor Greg Nickels and Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

Total crime for 2006 decreased 8.2 percent, largely due to a solid reduction in property crimes. In 2005, violent crimes increased 8.2 percent but last year the trend leveled off, with a 0.8 percent increase. Property crimes dropped sharply by 9 percent from the previous year.

“I’m proud to say we live in one of the safest cities in the country, and we are taking steps to reduce crime even more by working closely with neighborhoods and putting more officers on the streets,” Nickels said. “But the disturbing counterpoint to our mostly positive numbers is that assaults with firearms continue to rise. This must stop and we have asked our state legislature to pass common-sense laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

“The legislative session is still young and we’ll continue lobbying for laws to require background checks at gun shows, hold adults responsible when children get a hold of loaded guns, and to ban assault weapons,” said Kerlikowske.

The year 2006 will be remembered with great sadness with the Capitol Hill murders and the attack at the Jewish Federation firmly imprinted upon Seattle’s collective memory. Overall, homicides totaled 30 -- five more than in the previous year. Coinciding with the increase in homicides, aggravated assaults with firearms also continued their upward trend. The number of crimes in which guns were used, threatened or implied has increased 18 percent since 2005 and 46 percent since 2004.

The Seattle Police Department continues to be an active participant in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Gangs Task Force. By ignoring traditional city boundaries and working with other local agencies in the region, the department multiplies the force brought to bear on problems of gun crimes and gang violence. The goal is a net reduction in violence in the region. The 2006 increase in aggravated assaults with firearms is tempered by a slight decrease in total aggravated assaults, which were down by 0.9 percent.

There was a sharp decrease in property crimes; auto thefts were down by 14.8 percent and larceny was down 12 percent. These declines can largely be credited to the efforts of the Major Crimes Task Force and the commitment by City Attorney Tom Carr and King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng to prioritize the prosecution of auto theft. In the burglary category, the 12.6 percent reduction in 2005 was negated by a 2006 increase of 11 percent. Because many property crimes are crimes of opportunity, the Seattle Police Department will continue efforts to encourage residents to adopt simple crime prevention measures into their daily routines.

The Seattle Police Department’s success in solving crimes continues to compare favorably with that of similar sized cities, meeting or exceeding the national benchmark on crime clearances in all major crimes except auto theft and larceny. Highlights include a murder clearance rate of 70 percent, a rape clearance rate of 52.7 percent, and a robbery clearance rate of 27.9 percent, exceeding national benchmarks by 16 percent 17 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

Read the 2006 Crime Stats fact sheet - Acrobat PDF

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Office of the Mayor

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