Report: Crime declines in Issaquah

June 12, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

An Issaquah Police motorcycle officer writes a traffic ticket to a motorist during the afternoon commute May 31 on Front Street South. By Greg Farrar

Crime declined in Issaquah last year, although as the rates of violent crimes and property crimes tumbled, robberies and burglaries increased from the prior year.

The information for Issaquah — from a report on crime statewide — showed a 12.2 percent drop in the overall crime rate for the city last year. The violent crime rate dipped 26.8 percent as the number of reported forcible rapes and aggravated assaults dropped. The property crime declined during 2011 by 11.6 percent, as police responded to fewer arsons, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts.

Still, despite the overall decline, the city experienced a 40 percent increase in robberies, a violent crime, and a 19.8 percent increase in burglary, a property crime. The number of robberies reported to police inched upward between 2010 and last year. Police also responded to more burglaries in 2010 than 2011.

The overall crime rate statewide dropped from 39.8 percent in 2010 to 38.3 percent in 2011, or 39.8 crimes for every 1,000 residents. Issaquah is home to a little more than 30,000 people.

The data comes from Crime In Washington 2011 — a report compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs and the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. Local law enforcement agencies statewide collected the data for the annual report.

The report compiles a crime index from local law enforcement agencies statewide. The crime index is the total number of certain offenses in a given area during a given period of time.

The crime rate is based on the crime index, but adjusts the index for variances in population by indicating the number of offenses for each 1,000 people.

Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers said the decline could not be attributed to a single factor.

“Overall, we realize it is down, but to attribute it to just one item is pretty hard to do,” he said.

Ayers said citizen reporting of crimes is crucial to assist the Issaquah Police Department fight crime.

“That is certainly helpful to us, when they call us before the crime is even committed, when they see something suspicious or people that don’t belong in an area,” he continued. “When they call us, that is an opportunity for them to help us prevent some crimes.”

City Administrator Bob Harrison said the low crime rate is a potential boon for Issaquah, especially as the city embarks on a campaign to attract more businesses.

“I don’t know that when you’re shopping for a house to purchase that crime rate is the first thing you look at, but you do get a sense of a community and how it looks and how it feels,” he said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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