Wouldn’t you know it, but as soon as I post something saying that crime is at a 30-year low, along comes another article to prove me wrong.
Well, really, my previous post was about national crime trends in the U.S., and today’s Seattle Times article only covers King County—so there’s no actual contradiction. But still, the homicide numbers aren’t good—93 homicides in King County last year, vs. 73 murders in 2000—which suggests that the local crime trends in the Puget Sound may not be following the same downward course as the national ones.
Murder rates don’t always move in lockstep with overall violent crime rates: because murders represent a tiny proportion of all crimes, fluctuations in murder rates may be random, and not representative of the overall direction of crime trends. But in most jurisdictions homicides are the best available year-to-year gauge of crime, since the number of homicides is usually well known—as opposed to, say, property crimes, which may not all be reported to the police.
So homicide is often used as a proxy for total crime. And that proxy, at least, is moving in the wrong direction in the most populous county in the Pacific Northwest states.