Washington state saw a rise in crimes — including fraud, murder and manslaughter — in 2020, according to a report issued by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).
The annual report is based on data collected by more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state. WASPC said the report is intended to give residents, elected leaders and law enforcement agencies information about crime in their communities.
In Edmonds, overall crime also rose by 41.3%, which Acting Assistant Chief Josh McClure said it was largely due to a spike in property-related crimes. The department received 962 criminal complaints in 2020; of those, 918 were property-related offenses, McClure said.
According to the report, Edmonds saw a 195.9% rise in the number of fraud complaints. McClure said most of the fraud reports involved residents falling victim to a phone scam.
“This is a trend that all law enforcement agencies have been experiencing,” he said.
Also in 2020, burglaries in Edmonds rose by 50%, thefts increased by 27.7% and vehicle thefts went up 79.2%, according to the report. According to McClure, these were “crimes of opportunity.”
The Edmonds Police Department is in the final stages of hiring a community engagement coordinator, which McClure said will help address these sorts of crimes through community meetings, training and education programs.
“The Edmonds Police Department remains committed to providing essential safety services to our community,” he said.
According to the report. two murders were reported in Edmonds in 2020 — one more than in 2019. Ninety-one DUIs were also listed. That was a drop from 2019, which had 122 DUI incidents.
Based on the statewide report, there was a 7.1% increase in Group A crimes, which includes crimes against persons, property and society. There were also 302 murders reported in the state in 2020 — a 46% increase from last year. However, the report also noted that overall, violent crimes were down this year compared to 2019.
Fraud saw the largest increase at 131.3% with 59,134 offenses in 2020. The significant increase in fraud activity in 2020 was due to fraudulent unemployment claims, according to WASPC.
Burglaries across the state also rose 17.2%, with 41,638 in 2020 compared to 35,526 in 2019, the report states.
Domestic violence offenses made up 49.7% of all crimes against persons and 2.7% of all crimes against property. A total of 59,289 domestic violence offenses were reported. Of that, 13,909 involved violations of a court-issued protection or no-contact order.
According to the state report, 22,070 drivers were arrested for DUI, including 172 juveniles. In addition, there were 8,200 arrests for drug-related crimes. Of that, 4.2% were under 18 years of age.
WASPC also reported that hate crimes across the state decreased — from 559 reported crimes in 2019 to 468 in 2020.
According to the report, there were 5,432 sexual offenses reported in 2020, involving 5,432 victims and 5,026 offenders.
Statewide, crimes were most frequently reported in August and least frequently reported in April, according to WASPC.
–By Cody Sexton