by A Concerned Rainier Valley Neighbor
It’s been a rough winter in the Rainier Valley. We’ve had several violent months and positive change seems to come in small spurts, if at all.
A few weeks ago, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, concern about crime in the Rainier Valley rose to a fever pitch. Hundreds of people jammed a Lakewood/Seward Park meeting, the mayor was bombarded with crime concerns at the Columbia City Town Hall and hundreds more marched to take back the streets of Rainier Beach.
Chances are good that you probably know at least one person who has been a victim of crime. At the same time no one outside the Rainier Valley really seems to care.
Even more stunning is the absence of concern – if not outright denial of a crime issue in the Rainier Valley – by other Seattle blogs like PubliCola.
Finally, there are widely differing impressions and reactions to crime in the Rainier Valley by those who read and comment on the RVP.
As for myself, I know that I feel markedly safer in different parts of Seattle. I was curious as to whether this was my perception or the reality. Is there more crime? Or are we just more aware of it? Or is just that the new folks in the Valley are less tolerant of crime?
I focused on the most dangerous crimes – assaults and robberies that include firearms – and took a look at what’s been happening in the different precincts.
This isn’t a block by block or neighborhood by neighborhood comparison, and the precinct boundaries were redrawn in early 2008, but it’s a good place to start since this is how police resources are allocated in Seattle. Depending on the level of interest, I could be convinced to dive down on more detailed basis.
The bottom line is that you are four times more likely to be robbed or assaulted with a gun in the South Precinct than the North Precinct, and it’s been that way for a long time – at least since 2008.
It’s gotten worse over the past year, bumping up to 4.7 times in 2011*. The “emergency” has been here for a long time, but it’s just now that our elected officials have chosen to recognize it.
I’ve also thrown in a comparison with New York City as it seems that they have done a great job combating crime. Based on 2010 statistics, you are 2.7 times more likely to be violently assaulted in the South Precinct as you are in New York City.
All the information I use is publicly available on the Seattle Police Department website. And the only tool I’m using for this analysis is Microsoft Excel. If you don’t believe the results, please email the editor and I’ll be happy to share the process and sources of the data so you can replicate the results.