YAKIMA, Wash. – While crime as a whole in Washington state declined almost 80% in 2021, the number of murders hit an all time high. The annual Crime in Washington report was published today, reporting 325 murders in the last year.
Violent crime has a whole increased about 12%. Over 17 thousand cases of aggravated assault were reported, almost 50 thousand of simple assault, almost six thousand forcible sex offenses and almost six thousand robberies.
Steven Strachan the WASPC Executive Director said the increase in the number or murders in our state could be related to the decrease in police officers.
“The number of murders is at an all time high. The rate of murders was higher in 1994,” he said. “This is related to staffing that officers per capita is now much lower than it was in 1994.”
Washington saw a loss of 495 sworn police officers in 2021 for a number of reasons including retirement and legislative changes they didn’t agree with. Strachan said the biggest reason for the loss of officers seems to be burnout.
“They’re the individuals that are looking the victims in the face that have been burglarized that have been robbed, whose been assaulted, and they want to help them and provide them with some answers of what’s going to happen,” Strachan said. “When it doesn’t happen because of the prosecution level, lack of resources, lack of access to resources and in some cases inability because of law changes that is frustrating.”
According to the FBI, there should be 3.3 officers per 1,000 people.. Washington is currently sitting at the lowest rate in our history with 1.38 officers per 1,000 people, even though the population is growing.
Strachan said he’d like to see more support for police officers.
“Supporting good policing through support for staffing, support for behavioral health infrastructure, support for wellness and making sure law enforcement feels supported,” he said.
Governor Jay Inslee is expected to make a proposal tomorrow meant to help law enforcement with training and recruiting efforts.
Other crimes like crimes against property decreased 2% and crimes against society decreased almost 50%.
Steven Strachan the WASPC Executive Director said the these decreases are largely the affects of the pandemic.
“That was due in part to an almost 79% decrease in identify theft and fraud and that is related to the tremendous spike in 2020 of unemployment fraud cases related to the pandemic,” Strachan said.
The crime report also shows an almost 61% decrease in drug offenses. Strachan this is likely because of the Blake decision in 2021 making it so officers could no longer arrest someone for personal possession.
Vehicle theft also increased 27% and vehicle parts theft increased 100% in 2021.
You can view more state crime statistics HERE.
Article Source: Fox 11