By Jack Mayne

Washington law enforcement agencies have reported an increase in statewide crime rates, with as much as 131 percent in virtually every area of criminal offenses during 2020.

Steven D. Strachan, the executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs agency, released the annual report on Wednesday (July 7). The report tracks crime and arrest data from contributing law enforcement agencies throughout Washington.

Compiled from all agencies
The Crime in Washington 2020 report is compiled with data from 233 state, county, municipal, and Tribal agencies. It is published in conjunction with the FBI, which will compile and release national data based upon state reports later this year.

The state report is designed to give residents, elected officials, and law enforcement data information about crime in local communities.

Murders, fraud way up
The report shows that in 2020 murders were up almost 47 percent and have increased overall 67 percent since 2016.

Manslaughter went up 100 percent, fraud increased by 131 percent, but at the same time, drug and narcotic offenses, plus reported hate crimes were down slightly.

The total number of commissioned officers statewide was down from 1.24 officer per thousand people to 1.19 per thousand people. Washington is ranked very low – 51st out of the 50 states and District of Columbia – for the number of officers per thousand people.

Reported cases of officers assaulted was up 6 percent in 2020 and has increased 67 percent since 2016.

Murder, fraud
While the total population for the State of Washington is 7,656,066, there were 302 murders in 2020; this is an increase of 46.6 percent compared with 206 murders in 2019. Murders have increased overall 66.9 percent since 2016.

There were 59,134 fraud offenses in 2020, an increase of 131.3 percent, compared with 25,562 fraud offenses in 2019. The agency said the significant increase in fraud activity in 2020 was due, in part, to fraudulent unemployment claims related to the pandemic.

A total of 468 hate crime incidents were reported statewide, down 13.1 percent from 2019.

A total of 22,070 persons were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), including 172 juveniles.

Drug and narcotic abuse incidents were 22.7 percent lower in 2020. There were 8,200 arrests for drug and narcotic violations; of that number 4.2 percent were persons under 18 years of age.