FBI: Crime rate dropped in 2009

September 21, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Crime in Issaquah dropped last year due to a dramatic decline in thefts from 2008 levels, even as violent crime inched upward.

FBI crime figures released Sept. 13 show 19 violent crimes and 633 property crimes reported in Issaquah last year. People reported 17 violent crimes and 814 property crimes to the Issaquah Police Department in 2008.

Violent crime is identified as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The breakdown for last year shows no murders, four forcible rapes, nine robberies and six aggravated assaults.

Police recorded a murder, a rape, six robberies and nine aggravated assaults in 2008.

Property crime is identified as burglary, theft, auto theft and arson. The incidents reported last year included 51 burglaries, 531 incidences of larceny or theft, 51 auto thefts and four arson cases. Theft remained the most common property crime.

Police recorded 103 burglaries, 638 incidents of larceny or theft, 73 auto thefts and three arson cases in 2008.

Police Chief Paul Ayers said he could not attribute the decline in property crime to a single factor. But he cited changes the department made in 2009 to prevent crime. The agency increased bike patrols and transferred a patrol officer to the detective division to work street-crime cases.

Officers reminded motorists not to leave valuables visible inside unattended vehicles. Police also ramped up efforts to encourage residents to report suspicious activity.

“Call us when you first become suspicious,” Ayers said.

The latest crime figures show a near-unbroken string of murder-free years in Issaquah. Statistics from the bureau showed no murders in the city from 2005 to 2007.

The lone 2008 murder occurred in the 600 block of Front Street South, after a 19-year-old woman stabbed her 21-year-old boyfriend in the chest, and then dropped him off at the Swedish Medical Center standalone Issaquah emergency room. The man, Tomasz Matczak, later died from the wound.

The death marked the first such incident in Issaquah since 2003.

Investigators later determined the woman had acted in self-defense, but the FBI recorded the incident as a murder or non-negligent manslaughter because investigators initially treated the case as a homicide.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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