Seattle is a dynamic, urban place that still carries enough natural beauty to inspire you. The city is located in King County, Washington, and has about 787,995 residents. Seattle is the county seat, the largest city in the state, and one of the top 20 largest cities in the US. Unfortunately, this is also why the Seattle crime rate can be pretty high.
Keep reading to learn more about the history of crime in the Emerald City and what you can expect regarding violent and property crimes.
History of Crime in Seattle
During the early 1930s, many of Seattle’s citizens exhibited criminal behavior, which was a response to the city’s economic crisis. Murders, robberies, and suicides were common, and there were also traces of organized crime.
Seattle had its own mafia organization called the Colacurcio crime family, founded in 1950. The members of the family owned strip clubs, which also served as prostitution houses.
When it comes to Seattle murders by year, the latest data includes numbers from 2006, when there were 30 murders per 100,000 residents. In 2007, there were 24 murders, and in 2008, the number jumped to 29, only to go down to 22 in 2009.
The murder numbers ranged from 19 to 27 per 100,000 residents until 2018, when the incident count increased to 38. In 2019, the numbers dropped to 28.
Current Seattle Crime Rate
The latest FBI report includes numbers from 2020 and shows that Seattle’s total crime rate was 134% higher than the US average. In addition, the violent crime rate was 62% higher, and the property crime rate was 149% up.
Seattle’s total daily crime rate was 15.07, while the day-by-day violent and property rates were 1.72 and 13.35, respectively. In comparison, Washington’s daily total, violent, and property rates were 8.29, 0.8, and 7.49, respectively.
However, based on the Seattle crime map, the following areas close to Seattle are safer to live in:
- Bangor Base
- Ames Lake
- High Bridge
On the other hand, South Park, Belltown, High Point, South Delridge, and White Center are the areas you should avoid.
Furthermore, Seattle is safer than only 7% of other cities in the US, and you’ll have one in 19 chances of being a victim of any crime. In addition, in Seattle, Washington, the crime rate has increased by 8% year-over-year.
Different Types of Crimes in Seattle
According to the latest reports, theft is the most common type of crime in the city, followed by burglary. Vehicle theft and aggravated assaults don’t occur as frequently as thefts, but they are still present. On the other hand, murder and arson are the least common types of crimes.
Seattle, Washington Crime Rates for Crimes Against Persons
Crimes against persons include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Current statistics show that the residents of Seattle reported 4,832 incidents of violent crime in 2020. Moreover, the city has a violent crime rate of 626 per 100,000 residents.
The murder rate is 6.7 in Seattle.
The city had 52 reported murders during 2020, translating to a Seattle murder rate of 6.7 per 100,000 residents. For comparison, Washington has a murder rate of 3.9, while the national rate is 6.5. The statistics also indicate that murders are the least common crime in Seattle.
Seattle has an assault rate of 389.9.
There were 3,008 reported incidents of aggravated assault in Seattle in 2020. This means the city’s average assault rate was 389.9 — higher than the national (279.7) and state (187.6) averages. At the same time, assaults are the most common type of violent crime in the city.
There were 301 reported incidents of rape in 2020.
Based on the latest data on the crime rate in Seattle, WA, there were 301 reported incidents of rape in the city in 2020, indicating a crime rate of 39.0 per 100,000 residents. Sexual assault statistics show that this rate is close to both national and state averages, which are 38.4 and 34.8, respectively.
There were 1,471 cases of robbery in Seattle in 2020.
Citizens of Seattle have reported about 1,471 robbery incidents during 2020, which means a robbery crime rate of 190.7. For comparison, the national average is 73.9, and Washington’s average is 67.4.
Seattle, Washington Crime Rate for Crimes Against Property
Crimes against property include burglary, theft, and vehicle theft. In Seattle, burglary and theft are the most common and account for almost all reported property crime incidents in 2020.
Residents reported 10,427 burglaries in 2020.
FBI crime reports show there were 10,427 incidents of burglary in 2020. This number makes the burglary rate in Seattle 1,351.5, while the state and national averages are 522.1 and 314.2, respectively.
The theft rate in Seattle is 2,884.6 per 100,000 residents.
The average theft crime rate in Seattle reached 2,884.6 in 2020, with 22,255 reported incidents. This makes it the most common crime against property in this city. Additionally, the rate is higher than Washington (1,854.2) and US (1,398.0) averages.
There were 4,911 reported vehicle thefts in 2020.
Vehicle theft is the least common property crime after arson, with 4,911 reported cases in 2020. However, the rate for this crime in Seattle is 636.5, which is higher than the national and Washington crime rate averages of 246.0 and 356.1.
The rate for arson in Seattle is 12.8 per 100,000 residents.
The latest reports show that the average rate for arson incidents is 12.8, which is slightly higher than the US average of 10.8. For comparison, in 2009, Seattle’s arson rate was 25.9, while the US average was 19.5.
Seattle Crime Rates by Neighborhood
While Seattle is moderately unsafe, you can still find some neighborhoods with lower crime rates. For example, there’s Enatai, Somerset, and Reinwood Leota.
Enatai’s crime rates are equal to the national averages.
Enatai’s violent and property crime rates are the same as the US averages. This neighborhood is safer than 97% of other US cities, likely due to the low number of residents. Specific crime rates are unavailable for this area.
Somerset’s total crime rate is 65% lower than the US average.
According to the Seattle crime rate map, Somerset has a 65% lower total crime rate than the US average. Its violent and property crime rates are also lower — 88% and 61% down, respectively.
Reinwood Leota’s total crime rate is 55% lower than the national average.
Reinwood Leota is another safe neighborhood, with a 55% lower crime rate than the national average. Moreover, violent and property crime rates are 86% and 48% lower, respectively.
Capitol Hill, Seattle crime rate is 241% higher than the US average.
Capitol Hill is a neighborhood in Seattle with a 241% higher crime rate than the US and 46% higher than the city’s average. Furthermore, its violent crime rate is 128% higher than the US average.
While there are no available numbers for specific crimes, the data shows you’d have one in 13 chances of being a victim of any crime if you lived in this neighborhood. This indicates Capitol Hill is one of the least safe places around Seattle.
Seattle Crime Rate Compared to Other Cities – Vancouver, Cleveland, and Las Vegas
Seattle has close to 600,000 residents, as do Vancouver, Cleveland, and Las Vegas. We’ll compare their overall crime rates to see where Seattle stands.
Vancouver’s total crime rate is 25% higher than the national average.
The total crime rate in Vancouver is just 25% higher than the US average. However, violent crime is 6% lower, while property crime is 35% up. Additionally, Vancouver’s crime rates have dropped by 5%, YoY.
Cleveland’s total crime rate is 144% higher than the US average.
The total Seattle crime rate is 134% higher than the US average, which isn’t too different from Cleveland. However, Cleveland’s violent crime rate is 327% higher than the US average, and the property crime rate is 108% up.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, the total crime rate is 17% higher than the US average.
Las Vegas looks like the best place to be compared to the other cities, yet its total crime rate is 17% higher than the national average. In addition, the violent crime rate is 36% higher, and the property crime rate is 13% up.
In the last few years, Seattle’s city council has shrunk the law enforcement’s budget several times. Even though there were drastic changes in the Seattle crime rate after defunding the police, the city still remains a moderately safe place to visit.
There were 42,425 reported crimes in 2020, half of which were thefts. On the other hand, there were only 52 murders in Seattle in that year, but the overall violent crime rate was still higher than the US and Washington averages. YoY, the crime rate in the city has increased by 8%.
People Also Ask
Is the crime rate high in Seattle?
At the moment, Seattle has a 134% higher crime rate than the US average. Its violent crime rate is also 62% higher, and property crime is 149% up. In addition, property crimes are more common than violent ones, with theft accounting for about half of all criminal incidents reported in 2020.
Furthermore, Seattle’s total daily crime rate is 15.07, which is significantly higher than both national and state averages.
Is Seattle a safe city?
Being the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has a medium overall crime risk, and you should practice caution if you decide to visit or move here. It’s a large city, so it’s naturally more dangerous than the smaller ones. The city core is usually safe before midnight, but you should stay away from First Hill and Pioneer Place.
Is Seattle safer than New York?
Surprisingly, New York has lower crime rates than Seattle and is a safer city overall. The former’s total crime rate is 9% lower than the national average, while the latter’s is 134% higher. New York also has 578 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, and Seattle has 626. In addition, the New York property crime rate is 1,559, which is way lower than Seattle (4,873).
What part of Seattle has the highest crime rate?
Sandpoint has 703 residents and is considered the most dangerous place near Seattle, with 337% more crime than the city’s average. Belltown is a neighborhood with about 10,000 residents, and it’s the second-most dangerous area in Seattle, with 218% more crime.
Other places with poor crime rates are First Hill, South Lake Union, Atlantic, Northgate, Haller Lake, and Capitol Hill, based on 2022 Seattle crime rate data.