Western Australia crime report: hate crimes and youth crimes on the rise; staff shortages remain
5 mins read

Western Australia crime report: hate crimes and youth crimes on the rise; staff shortages remain

Data from the 2023 Washington Crime Report released by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASPC) revealed that crimes against people, property crimes and violent crimes overall decreased, while crimes against the public — including hate crimes and car thefts — increased compared to last year.

The report comes as Washington has the fewest officers per capita in the country, according to FBI data collected by WASPC. Washington state ranks 51st out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the number of officers per 1,000 residents.

WASPC Executive Director Steve Strachan said during a news session Tuesday that Washington has about 10,700 law enforcement officers. If the state were to reach the national average of 2.31 officers per capita, it would need to hire 8,000 more officers.

Rantz on Police Staffing:Seattle Police Department staffing levels lowest since 1958, 38 officers leave so far

Washington Crime Report Shows Hate Crimes Are Up

Statistically speaking, crimes against society in Washington have increased.

Crimes against society include animal cruelty, drug/narcotics violations, drug equipment violations, pornography/obscene material, prostitution, weapons violations, and gambling offenses. The data showed that one of these types of crimes is committed every 24.5 minutes. According to the same data, drug violations occur every 47.7 minutes.

In the case of drug law offences, the majority of offences concern possession (67.2%) and use (18.6%).

Hate crimes are up 6%, according to WASPC data, with African Americans, Jews, disabled people, transgender people and people from the LGBTQ+ community most affected by the rise in hate crimes. Strachan said that among hate crimes, aggravated assault — in which the victim is injured — is up 11%.

“These are serious attacks, and last year we had 79 of them related to hate crimes in Washington state,” he said. “That’s a number that should be very concerning to us.”

A sharp increase in thefts of state-owned vehicles

Car theft remains one of the region’s most serious problems. The total number of car thefts is set to increase by 5.4% between 2022 and 2023.

Strachan said 54,187 vehicles were expected to be stolen in 2023, more than 6,700 more than in 2022. Car thefts have increased by 112% since 2019.

People blame Washington state’s hot pursuit law and the “Kia Boyz” craze for the rise in thefts.

‘It’s amazing’:A year after viral TikTok trend, Kia and Hyundai car thefts remain at ‘ridiculous’ levels

Crimes against people: Every day someone is murdered

Crimes against people — including murder, manslaughter, rape, assault and human trafficking — occurred every 4.7 minutes in 2023, while property crimes occurred every 90 seconds. By comparison, Strachan noted that violent crimes fell by 5.5% overall. However, these numbers are a far cry from 2019 levels.

“We are seeing encouraging numbers on crime rates and crime numbers in Washington state, but we are a long way from pre-pandemic levels,” Strachan said.

Report:Violent crime and homicide rates skyrocket in Washington

While crimes against people are down slightly — 0.6%, to be exact, according to published data — the state is seeing a murder every day. More precisely, there is one murder every 23.3 hours. There has been little progress in 2023, with 376 murders reported, down from 399 the previous year.

By comparison, Oregon’s murder rate was less than half of Washington’s, which was 177 murders in 2023, according to the Oregon state website. However, California saw 1,485 homicide arrests in 2022, according to the California state report.

Of the crimes against people, whites were the most active, with 227 whites, 87 blacks, 26 Asians, 12 American Indians/Alaska Natives, 3 Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and 21 people designated as race unknown being murdered in 2023. The crime with the most victims was simple assault, with 36,864 whites being simply assaulted, 5,867 blacks, 1,913 Asians, 892 American Indians/Alaska Natives, 363 Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and 5,031 people designated as race unknown.

According to the Washington state Office of Financial Management, in 2022, Washington’s population was 72% white, 4.5% black, 10% Asian, 2% American Indian/Alaska Native, 1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 10% were from two or more races.

More and more young people are committing crimes in Washington

Looking at arrest data, the most common crimes committed by minors in Washington in 2023 were liquor violations, drunk driving, robberies and vehicle thefts. Strachan believes more and more minors are living a life of crime.

“More than 20% of those arrested for motor vehicle theft in 2023 were juveniles,” he said. “And from 2022 to 2023, we saw a 24% increase in the number of juveniles arrested.”

Local crime:Teenagers and 12-year-old charged in series of violent crimes in Seattle

Of those who committed crimes last year, 100,880 were male, 34,635 were female, and 116 had unknown gender. The crime with the most arrests was driving under the influence (DUI). In 2023, more than 17,000 male drivers were cited for driving under the influence, compared to 5,800 female drivers.

Taking a closer look at the overall data, arrests by race, and relationships

White people were arrested most often in 2023: there were 105,848 arrests, Black people made 20,126 arrests, Asian people made 5,164 arrests, American Indians/Alaska Natives made 4,503 arrests, and American Indians/Alaska Natives made 6,835 arrests were unknown.

The most common relationships for offenders to victims were boyfriend/girlfriend and acquaintances, showing that the person most likely to hurt you is someone you already know. However, a stranger was the third most common person, and many relationships went unreported.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X Here and write to her here.