Report outlines 2020 crime trends across Washington state

A new report outlines crime trends in Washington state during 2020, showing a decrease in many categories of offenses and and increase in murders.

The report was compiled and released by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Since Washington state does not yet have a comprehensive reporting system to track crimes across law enforcement agencies, the report is generated from data voluntarily submitted by 233 police agencies across the state.

In data compiled from 211 police agencies that submitted reports in 2019 and 2020, there was a 7.1% increase in serious crimes between the two years.

However, many categories of crimes saw reductions. In 2020, crimes against persons decreased 4.7% over the year before. Nearly half of these were domestic violence offenses. There were 5,432 sexual offenses reported in 2020, and 59,289 domestic violence offenses reported.

Crimes against society saw a nearly 17% decrease. Violent crimes also dropped by 3.5%.

At the same time, there were 302 murders in 2020, marking a 46.6% increase compared to the 206 murders in 2019 across Washington state. Nearly 58% of murders involved a firearm.

Property crimes also increased by nearly 14%, with 365,435 reported in 2020. By far, property crimes were the most common form of crime, accounting for nearly 74% of the most serious crimes in the state.

Fraud cases also skyrocketed last year during the pandemic. In 2020, there were more than 59,000 fraud offenses, an increase of 131.3% compared to 2019. The increase is due to a high number of fraudulent unemployment claims which occurred largely during during the spring of 2020.

In total, 22,070 people were arrested for intoxicated driving, including 172 people under the age of 18. There were also 468 hate incidents reported. While this is less than the 559 hate offenses reported in 2019, there were more victims in 2020, rising from 515 to 570. The majority of hate incidents were likely motivated by race, followed by sexual orientation. On gender and gender identity, there were 21 anti-transgender incidents reported.

For hate incidents based on race, 195 were anti-Black incidents, 69 were classified as anti-white, 37 as anti-Hispanic/Latino, 29 anti-Asian, 28 against other races, 19 against multi-race, 17 against American Indian/Alaskan Native, six anti-Arab and three against Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

For religious hate incidents, anti-Jewish incidents were the most common with 29 reports, followed by eight anti-Islamic incidents and seven anti-Catholic incidents.

There were 8,200 arrests for drug violations last year, with 4.2% of those being people under 18. Possessing or concealing marijuana accounted for 4.7% of the total number of offenses, while possessing heroin constituted 23.6%.

However, amphetamines and meth were the most common drug offense, accounting for 5,184 offenses while heroin was only 2,490.

The most common type of weapon used during crimes were personal vehicles, making an appearance in 44,881 crimes. This was followed by hands at 21,323 instances. Handguns were used in 1,822 crimes and accounted for the largest segment of firearms used.

Two police officers died in the line of duty during 2020.

Snoqualmie Police Department

The Snoqualmie Police Department also reported crimes for the year 2020 in the report. In total, there were 176 arrests made, with 21 of these being youth under the age of 18.

Most crimes in Snoqualmie decreased between 2020 and 2019, with theft remaining the most common crime. There were 148 instances of theft last year, the name number as the year before. Aggravated assault and simple assault cases held relatively flat. There were no reported robberies during 2020.

However, the one crime which did skyrocket during 2020 was fraud, increasing from 22 cases in 2019 to 234 in 2020.