City Audit Finds Half of All Crime Happens on 4.5 Percent of City Blocks

By Erica C. Barnett April 4, 2011

A city audit, presented to the city council's public safety committee last week, finds that around 50 percent of all street crime in Seattle takes place on just 4.5 percent of all block faces in Seattle. Moreover, the audit found, these so-called "hot spots" have remained remarkably stable over time, with crime focused in only around 1,500 of Seattle's 30,000 block faces over the past 14 years.

During the same 14-year period, around 6,100 offenders were responsible for more than half of all Seattle street crime. The same trend held true for juvenile crimes: Just 86 block faces, or .29 percent of all block faces in the city, accounted for more than a third of all juvenile crimes in the past 14 years.

The report's conclusion: SPD "would have to approach four times as many targets to identify the same level of overall crime when they focus on people as opposed to places." The audit recommends that the police focus their efforts on those hot spots, which tend to concentrate in downtown and Southeast Seattle.
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