The Statistical Analysis Center of Washington assimilates and analyses crime information provided under the voluntary Federal Bureau of Investigation UCR program (Uniform Crime Reporting). Data is collected monthly from all participating law enforcement agencies by the WASPC (Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) and is submitted to the center for study.
While the index usually has a lower numeric representations of crimes in various categories as the data is recorded in an hierarchical fashion with only the more serious offenses being logged, the analysis report offered by the Center is enough to provide a gist of where the crime scene is headed and the volume and type of the nefarious activities reported to the police.
A scrutiny of the decade long crime figures has led the analysts of the Center to conclude that there has been a marginal improvement in the crime scene of the state. However, here is a look at whether this decrease has been enough to make the streets of Washington safer for its residents.
Washington crime statistics in comparison with the national average
When compared with the national average, Washington scores better in terms of violent crime figures with a lower crime index of 2.7 as opposed to the nationwide figure of 4. However, when property crime is analyzed, the state comes out on top with higher than average figures across the board and an overall rate of 37 which is considerably steeper than the national median of just about 29.
A closer look at crime specific figures revealed that of the various violent crime categories, murder, assault and robbery stood at almost 50% of the national indexes. For instance, the national median for murder is around 0.5 while the Washington average for homicide stands at less than half of this figure at just about 0.2.
Similarly, the robbery and assault averages for the state are approximately 0.9 and 1.9, markedly lower than the national indexes for these crimes of around 1.2 and 2.5 respectively.
However, the state average for aggravated sexual assault is higher than the national index; the same also holds true for all property crime categories. The sexual assault average for the state of Washington is around 0.4 while the national average is just below 0.3.
In terms of property crime, there is a difference of 20% to 35% across all the crime categories. For instance, the national average for property crime is approximately 20 while the Washington state median is 25.On the same lines, the averages for burglary and carjacking at the national level are just around 7 and 2.4 while the medians for the state of Washington are higher at 8.2 and 3.4 respectively.
Undoubtedly criminal incidents increase in proportion to the population, so it is not surprising to see this phenomenon being replicated in Washington State. An analysis of the crime data from 1960 points to a gradual increase in crime rates that is directly proportional to the burgeoning population figures.
This continues for almost three and a half decades till 2005 but then there is a significant drop in the crime averages across the board. Every category from rape to larceny and from assault to theft went down between 2005 and 2011. In fact, property crime decreased by a whopping 15% during this period, while the violent crime average fluctuated between 21000 and a little over 22,000 incidents.
The current state of crime in Washington
According to the data available on the website of the Statistical Analysis Center of Washington for 2011, crime figures have continued their downward spiral.In comparison to the 2010 average of almost 270,000 complaints, a little over 118,000 crime reports were filed in the state in 2011.
The significant decrease in the crime averages are reflected across all the categories. However, the incident type with the largest decline is aggravated assault. In 2010, over 12,000 crime reports were filed in matters pertaining to assault; however, in a year since then, this figure has comes down to almost 5000.
Future predictions based on the crime statistics in the state of Washington
Given the decrease in property crime of about 14% in the last ten years and the fact that violent crime figures have been kept in check with little or no increase in the number of incident reports filed, the annual crime rate of Washington State is expected to go down well below 170,000 per annum in the near future.
Undoubtedly, there has been improvement in the crime figures reported by various agencies from across the state of Washington, yet, police have an uphill task ahead of them when it comes to controlling incidents of violent crimes, robberies and theft.
Despite the improvements, a criminal complaint is filed in the state every 2 minutes. So, residents should definitely take protective measures to safeguard their loved ones and commercial interests.