Midyear 2008 Crime Statistics Released

Message from Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske:

2008 is a year of transition, as SPD moved to a new records management system. The new system enables officers on patrol to file crime reports and also to look up details on prior incidents, from their cars.

Also new in 2008, we adjusted the boundaries of the precincts and of beats, which are the areas where officers patrol. This was done as part of our Neighborhood Policing Project, so that officers can spend more time in their areas getting to know people and problems. Many of these boundaries had not been adjusted in thirty years and the workload among precincts and beats was not equitable.

Coupled with the new beat boundaries are increases in the number of officers. As of early December, we had 1,320 officers on board, the highest number in our history. The Department’s aggressive recruiting efforts are resulting in a steady stream of new officers being assigned to the precincts, once they complete their training.

As you look at the crime statistics for 2008, you will notice differences in the format and style from previous years. You should also be aware that 2008 precinct-level statistics cannot be directly compared with prior years, because of the boundary changes made.

Major Crimes are down at midyear in 2008 by 11% overall when compared with the same time period in 2007. A review of the preliminary data for July through October shows a continued downward trend. This decrease, when contrasted against 2007, is significant because crime in that year was at the lowest level in Seattle in forty years.

We are very glad to see that crime is down and very proud of the work of the men and women of the Seattle Police Department. We believe that the trust and confidence our citizens have in the Department, and the partnerships we have with neighborhoods and businesses, are critical factors in making Seattle one of America’s safest big cities.

At the same time, we absolutely recognize that more needs to be done. As Mayor Nickels and I have stated, the deaths and injuries occurring among our city’s young people are unacceptable. Preventing these tragic incidents is the City’s and the Department’s first priority and we will focus every effort and resource on reducing these crimes and in working with other law enforcement agencies in King County to make our entire region safer.

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