(The Center Square) – The crime rate in Seattle through May this year is down 20% from 2022, but there has been a growing increase in crime throughout the city since spring, with downtown remaining the most dangerous district.
Through the first five months of 2022, there have been 17,446 total cases of crime in Seattle: 1,985 violent crimes and 15,461 property crimes, according to the Seattle Police Department crime dashboard.
In comparison, the city saw 21,796 total cases of crime through May 2022: 2,330 violent crimes and 19,466 property crimes.
However, crime rates have begun to increase in Seattle as the seasons changed. The month of February had the lowest rate of total crime with 3,113. Since then, total crime jumped to 3,374 in March, 3,573 in April and 3,790 in May. The Seattle Police Department has not publicly provided crime statistics for June as of this publication.
When it comes to how districts compare, statistics are relatively the same. The Downtown Commercial District remains the area with the most cases of violent crime. In the first five months of 2023, the downtown area had 166 violent crimes reported, including two homicides. That area witnessed three homicides in all of 2022.
The district with the second highest number of violent crime reports through May 2023 is neighboring Capitol Hill with 140 cases, including two homicides as well.
There were 52 total cases of homicide in all of Seattle in 2022. Notably, last year had the highest number of violent crimes with 5,625, the most in over 10 years of Seattle crime statistics. Through May 2023, there have been a total of 22 throughout the city.
The Seattle Police Department is also dealing with a shortage of officers in the midst of increased crime since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, Seattle saw 13 to 16 officers leave per month. As of May, it has dropped to nine per month.
The department spent $33.7 million on overtime, which was approximately $7.3 million more than its $26.4 million budget. This additional overtime was needed to pay for patrol augmentation, emphasis patrols and special event coverage, as previously reported by The Center Square.
The department’s 2023 overtime budget was increased to $31.3 million in anticipation of greater overtime needs this year. Current trends have the city saying it is unlikely that the $31.3 million budget will be enough to cover the department’s overtime expenses.