Sep 23, 2022 - Politics

Homicides in Seattle rise — unlike in other major cities

Police look over the scene of a deadly shooting at Seattle's 3rd Avenue and Pine Street on January 22, 2020
Police look over the scene of a deadly shooting at Seattle's 3rd Avenue and Pine Street on Jan. 22, 2020. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

The number of homicides in Seattle rose slightly in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, city figures show.

Why it matters: Seattle appears to be bucking a national trend.

  • Across major cities nationwide, homicides declined in the first half of 2022 — though robberies and aggravated assaults rose from the same period last year, Axios' Russell Contreras writes from a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies.

By the numbers: Seattle reported 25 homicides through June 30 of this year, up from 22 during the same stretch last year, according to the survey.

  • Robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults also were higher than in the first six months of 2021.

Of note: The decrease in homicides elsewhere wasn't huge. Across 70 big cities, the total number of homicides declined by about 2.4% in the first half of this year compared to the last, per the survey.

Context: Seattle officials have warned that homicides this year could exceed the 52 seen in 2020 — the highest number of homicides recorded in the city in a quarter century.

Yes, but: Even in that especially violent year, Seattle’s murder rate was below the national average.

  • The CDC reported a national homicide rate of 7.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 2020, while Seattle’s rate was 7.1 per 100,000.

The bottom line: The new numbers are concerning, but they don’t mean Seattle is the nation’s murder capital.

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