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Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 01:06 PM

2012 Seattle homicides part of violent trend

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporter

In Seattle and four other large Washington cities, violent crime rose during the first half of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to statistics released Monday by the FBI.

Violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) showed increases in the first six months of 2012 in Bellevue, Everett, Spokane and Tacoma, as well as Seattle. The largest increase was in Seattle, which saw 1,834 reported incidents in 2012, compared with 1,660 in the first six months of 2011.

Most notable in Seattle was the increase in the number of homicides — 22 in the first half of 2012, compared with four in the first six months of 2011, according to the FBI. The city's single deadliest day was May 30, when Ian Stawicki walked into the Café Racer coffee shop in the University District and killed four people. He then killed a woman in a downtown Seattle parking lot before stealing her car.

Stawicki later killed himself in West Seattle.

The city would have 26 total homicides in 2012; there were 20 in all of 2011.

"We had a lot of things that caused a lot of concern for the Police Department and the community (last year), many incidents of violence and murder that left many people wondering where it came from," said Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. "The first six months was a difficult time for the city of Seattle and the Police Department."

Property crimes (burglary, larceny/theft, auto theft and arson) also increased in Seattle, going from 15,216 in the first half of 2011 to 15,419 during the same period in 2012. Auto thefts remained all but unchanged — 1,623 in the first half of 2011, 1,624 during the same period last year.

In Bellevue, violent crime showed a slight increase, with 73 incidents in the first half of 2011, and 75 during the same period last year. Property crimes in Bellevue decreased, from 1,701 in the first half of 2011 to 1,617 in the same period last year despite increases in burglaries (306 in the first half of 2011 to 333 during the same period in 2012) and auto thefts (73 to 91).

Officer Carla Iafrate, spokeswoman for the Bellevue Police Department, said the city's crime rate continues to be one of the lowest in the state.

"Our Police Department is committed to reducing crime, encouraging traffic safety and thoroughly investigating every case, while our citizens have assisted by developing block watches and increasing their crime prevention awareness," Iafrate wrote in an email.

In Everett, violent crime showed a small increase, from 242 incidents in the first half of 2011 to 245 in the first six months of 2012, while property crimes declined.

Nationally, the number of violent crimes and property crimes reported to police rose in the first half of last year compared with the same period in 2011, with violent crime rising 1.9 percent and property crime up 1.5 percent.

The number of murders was down 1.7 percent and the number of rapes decreased 1.4 percent. However, robbery offenses increased 2 percent and aggravated assault was up by 2.3 percent.

Statistics for Vancouver, Wash., the state's fourth-largest city, were not included.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.






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