Skip to comments.A few streets responsible for half of Seattle's crime
Posted on 04/01/2011 9:40:16 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
Based on 14 years worth of data that shows half of Seattle's crimes take place on 4.5 percent of its streets, the Office of the City Auditor released a study March 29 recommending the Seattle Police Department focus its energy on a handful of high-crime areas.
The report, "Addressing Crime and Disorder in Seattle's 'Hot Spots': What Works?," was spurred when Seattle City Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen asked the Office of the City Auditor to look into how the city was dealing with graffiti and litter.
That process led to research that suggested efforts to focus on high-crime city blocks, or hot spots, can be effective in reducing crime and disorder, according to the Office of the City Auditor. Furthermore, the report finds, counter to what some may think, displacing crime and disorder in one area does not move it to an adjacent area.
The March 29 report references three studies of crime in Seattle that bolster its hot spot theory.
A 2004 study of data from the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Utilities showed 50 percent of Seattle's crime was perpetrated in 4.5 percent of its "street segments." In other words, 1,500 street segment, out of 30,000 in the city, were responsible for half the crime. And, crime in those hot spots remained stable for 14 years.
A 2009 study of juvenile crimes showed that 86 (0.29 percent) of Seattle's 30,000 street segments were responsible for one-third of juvenile crime over a 14-year period.
Finally, a study in 2010 showed that violent crimes, physical disorder (such as graffiti and litter) and social disorder (such as public drunkenness) concentrate at hot spots. About 12 percent of census blocks accounted for almost half of Seattle's social disorder and graffiti and other physical disorders were strongly correlated to the presence of violent crimes, according to the study.
"These 'powerful few' hot spots are responsible for many of the disorder problems in Seattle," according to the Office of the City Auditor's report.
The report concludes that it would be more efficient and effective for SPD to focus on the 1,500 hot spots responsible for half the city's crime than to attempt to focus on the equivalent 6,108 offenders responsible for the same amount of crime each year.
Hot spot approaches to policing have been successful in Minneapolis, Kansas City, Jersey City, Oakland and elsewhere, according to the Office of the City Auditor.
In order to replicate that success, the report recommends SPD use data to identify hot spots, focus resources there and collaborate with community stakeholders, such as neighbors, business association, churches and neighborhood watch groups.
According to the Office of the City Auditor's report, focusing on hot spots would not require funding an entirely new program; SPD would just have to use existing resources in a better way. For example, SPD could spend discretionary dollars on a few small hot spots instead of spreading them thin across all neighborhoods.
But, that approach may not go over well with residents outside of hot spots who continue to push for increased police presence and see themselves as deserving as the same amount of SPD energy as their more troubled neighbors.
The city attempted a small version of a hot spot program in October 2010.
As part of the Clean and Green Seattle Initiative, SPD partnered with property owners, neighbors, nonprofits and others to clean up the intersection of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, where there had been a 30-year history of open-air drug dealing.
According to SPD, calls from that intersection dropped from an average of 30 per month to nine in December 2010.
The Department of the City Auditor concludes its report by offering to work with city leaders on their decision-making process regarding a hot spot policing approach.
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"...let me guess...the Amish district"
That’s the way it is in pretty much all cities large and small.
I bet one of the streets is named “Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.”
So the City Auditor came up with this? Not the police?
I would assume the Rainier Valley and parts of the Central, although the latter was being gentrified by the Capitol Hill crowd when I was living there. The areas around Pioneer Square are a little seedy, but I assume most of the crime there centers on fights over the last bottle of Thunderbird.
You nailed it dead on. I am NOT surprised. Runs right through the “CD” (Central District).
Thanks for the ping!
20 years since I’ve been there but I’m guessing the CD.
23rd runs parallel to MLKJr Way and is about 6 blocks away from it. Any sane person who knows the area shouldn’t be driving down MLK Way without either heavy armor or heavily armed.
Actually, they shouldn’t be driving in that area at all if they’re smart.
For some reason “Posse on Broadway” by Sir Mix-A-Lot is running through my head. (Yes, children, he had a recording career before “Baby Got Back”.)
Of course, there must just be some coincidence, because “all cultures are equal”.
Perhaps the problem is in the definition of “crime”.
If we’d just define crime by another standard other than “whitey’s”, then whitey would be the group that had the highest “crime” statistics.
It’s all a matter of cultural relativism, you know.
Whitey’s opinion on what is and isn’t a crime is being forced on everyone else.
Put those Street in prison!
If streets commit crime, outlaw streets, lanes, and highways!
It’s not the street’s fault; its criminal behavior was due to a poor gravel underlayment.
Streets don’t commit crime; Cars do!
Three potholes, and you’re out!
Kill all the streets and let Gaia sort them out.
As a Seattle resident since 1962 I am continually amazed at how fast our liberal, Progressive, socialist leaders can make decisions.
This is actually "blindingly fast" fact finding for Seattle......next question is how many years will it take the city fathers to decide to act on the data.....
I predict a 6 year study to see if street lighting, additional unarmed police, signs declaring "High Crime Area", or having whistles attached to lampposts for victims to blow will be more effective.