Washington homicide rate soars 16.6% in 2022

According to a report, there were 394 murders in the state last year compared to 338 in 2021.

The homicide rate in the state of Washington skyrocketed from 2021 to 2022. According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs' (WASPC) annual report compiling data from 231 agencies statewide, there was a 16.6% increase year-over-year. Despite this increase, the homicide rate has still not surpassed the highest homicide rate recorded in 1994.

In 2022, there were 394 murders - one every about 23 hours - while in 2021 338 people were killed, according to the association's report published that year. The executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Steve Strachan, expressed his concern: "Obviously, the number of homicides is something I really find troubling."

Homicides were not the only crimes that increased from 2021 to 2022. Violent crimes increased by 8.2%, from 29,750 in 2021 to 32,397 in 2022. 60.8% of these crimes were aggravated assaults, 21% were robberies and 17% were forcible sex offenses.

Shortage of law enforcement officers

According to the WASPC report, Washington State had 15,604 full-time law enforcement employees across all agencies, which translates to 1.36 officers per 1,000 people. The federal average is 2.31.