New report: crime surges in Washington as number of law enforcement continues to decline
A new report from the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs shows that the number of murders as well as violent and property crimes are rising across the state. At the same time, the number of law enforcement officers continues to decline.
Washington saw its most homicides ever in 2022 with 393 people murdered. That is an increase of 16.6 percent over the previous year according to the report – and 96 percent since 2019. This now marks three years in a row that the murder rate has increased. Crimes against persons, property and society all increased in 2022 with violent crimes increasing by 8.9 percent.
It is no coincidence that the state also has the smallest ratio of law enforcement officers to residents in the country. The state has now been in last place – behind every other state and Washington, D.C. 13 consecutive years. And, as crime increases, the number of officers is decreasing. It’s a dangerous and difficult job and lawmakers are not doing anything to make it a more attractive career option. 2,375 cases of officer assault were reported last year (an increase of 20.7 percent over 2021) and legislature declined to restore police pursuit, take meaningful action on drugs or otherwise make it easier for law enforcement to keep us safe.
Unfortunately, crime has become a political issue in the state when it should be something that unites all Washingtonians. Residents are desperate for state and local leaders to take action and collaborative solutions have been proposed that would be effective and compassionate. Our recent polling showed more than half of the state’s residents believe Washington is on the wrong track and would leave if given the opportunity. Respondents also said crime is one of the issues they’re most concerned with and lawmakers aren’t focusing on it enough.
It’s clear that state and local leaders need to take action.