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Monday, December 31, 2012


Posted by on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Barring some 11th hour spurt of violence, and despite a bloody start to 2012, Seattle will finish the year with 26 homicides, a tragic but rather average number for the city over the past decade or so. All but three of Seattle's 26 homicide victims this year were killed by guns.

At 4.2 murders per 100,000 residents, Seattle's homicide rate is consistently one of the lowest in the nation among cities with populations greater than 250,000. By comparison, Chicago recently recorded its 500th murder of the year for a homicide rate of 18.5 per 100,000, while New Orleans' 189 murders in 2012 gives it a homicide rate of 52.4 per 100,000 residents. A murder rate like that in Seattle would have left us with 325 dead.

The point is, Seattle's murder rate remains relatively low. You know, for an American city.

I suppose there are a number of things one might take away from this comparative data. Local gun rights advocates might wonder what all the recent fuss is about, while gun control advocates might question what exactly it is the gun owners think they are protecting themselves from?

But as someone who is paid to complain about all the things our city does wrong, it's good to remind myself that there are a lot of things that Seattle does well—not the least of which being that we tend not to kill each other in nearly the same numbers as most other big US cities.

Not that this is much consolation to the families and friends of the 26 dead.


Comments (41) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
The big news isn't the high number of murders...but where they happened.

Years ago, Classic Seattle, the neighborhoods of the north, the Ballards and Wallingfords and University District even, were safe havens. You could walk around these areas at any hour of the day or night and feel safe.

Sure, there were these "other places" deep in South King County where serial killers and drug dealers lurked...but living in Seattle was like living on a western college campus. You could even stumble around tipsy drunk, and it was small town. Anything that did happen, was non-tragic.

Now, everywhere is South King county. There is no haven from gangs and shootings. 26 killed...but one of those, sitting in your coffee shop, or jogging around Greenlake, could be you. Unlike before...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 31, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
Damn, New Orleans.
Posted by Samanthal on December 31, 2012 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 6
I am going to guess that the "unregistered" is our resident racist asshole. Go suck something, dude. It'll take your mind, you don't have a mind.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on December 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM · Report this
@2 the Cafe Racer shooter wasn't a gang member. he was a crazy guy that had an easier time finding a gun because of the flood of guns into our society. 30 / 40 years ago gang members didn't have so many weapons either. Then the NRA industry controllers realized that every killing increased their sales if the guns were available to purchase and that the more guns on the street the more killings there would be. there weren't enough pure gun nuts then so they had to convince a bunch of hunters that the hippies and the black people wanted to take their rifles and shotguns. Now, the hunters as percentage of gun owners is way way down, and the gun industry and their gun nut flying monkeys have jumped joyfully with every killing by anyone of anyone, as each killing increased peoples fear and increased gun sales. Frickin' vampires.
Posted by cracked on December 31, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
@2 Actually Ballard has a lower rate of violent crime and burglaries than when I move here 20 years ago. In fact, in 2010 Seattle had the lowest murder rate since 1956. The overall trends have been good. This tell me you are trying to manipulate people's opinions by making shit up based on racist stereotypes of neighborhoods and their attributes. What a horrible despicable person you are to do that.
Posted by cracked on December 31, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
@8, you are the classic fearmongering nitwit who drives the stupid discussion on crime in this country.

Wallingford? Wallingford is the safest goddamn neighborhood in the United States, probably the safest in the world. There is virtually no crime of any kind in Wallingford. If you are afraid of crime in Wallingford you are a clueless moron. Trembling old women think you're a fearful nitwit.

Yes, you can read about a car prowl on a neighborhood blog, but that doesn't tell you anything, really. One or two incidents in a neighborhood of tens of thousands of people is NOTHING.

It's especially interesting that studies show that the fear of crime is roughly identical in places like Wallingford, where there is no crime, and places like East St. Louis or West Memphis, which have third-world levels of violence. People there have a much better picture of their own safety than you do.

And for your information, thirty and forty years ago Fremont and Green Lake and Wallingford were poor neighborhoods with a serious crime problem. I remember well when Fremont was a crumbling slum and Green Lake was nothing but ramshackle rental housing, and the U District was chockablock with drug addicts breaking into anything they could.

You don't know anything about this city, Bailo.
Posted by Fnarf on December 31, 2012 at 8:19 PM · Report this
Fnarf 12
@8, sorry, I meant @2. I didn't even read yours.
Posted by Fnarf on December 31, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 13
I see Andrew S's unregistered sockpuppets to make an appearance.

@9 - of course he is, he's a republican. Trying to install fear of the other is a requirement.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on December 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 14
Goldy should move to Baltimore. Then he wouldn't have to cherry pick other cities gun incidents. Christ, he would be in heaven writing about all those dead son of bitches.
Posted by Lew Siffer on December 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Is "Supreme ruler..." the same guy as the more straightforwardly racist guy who posts unregistered?
Posted by cracked on December 31, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
@1, 3, etc. -I'm not really sure what the utility of your constant race baiting here is. Doesn't seem like you're going to convert anyone to virulent racism, and no one seems to be launching into a fruitless debate. Maybe take a break, drum up some more aggressive insults, and come back to us.
Posted by Chris Jury on December 31, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
Tiffany 17
Seattle, population 620,000: 23 firearm murders in 2012

Germany, population 82,000,0000: 15 firearm murders in 2010 (latest stats I could find)

We are doing well for an American city, yes. For a global city, not so much.
Posted by Tiffany on December 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM · Report this
@11 FNARF Thanks for the history on Fremont, Wallingford, Greenlake, etc. I have talked to many people about how these neighborhoods were tough way back when, but don't have any first hand knowledge til I got here 20 years ago.

Funny how right wingers who want to attack Seattle liberals, like Dorrie Monson, who grew up in Ballard, will totally remake history. One thing I know for sure is that at the time Monson was growing up, a large percentage of Ballard families couldn't wait to get into the suburbs where they could get a bigger house and the better schools that went with generally better conditions. I talked with a lot of these folks and their kids in the course of my work and living here in Ballard. These neighborhoods are completely different now.
Posted by cracked on December 31, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
@17, Germany, with roughly 25,000,000 privately owned firearms, or about 30 guns/100 people, has the 4th highest rate of privately owned guns in the world. It is possible for a private citizen to get a permit to own handguns and long guns. It is also possible to own semi-automatic firearms as well as conceal carry.

Somehow, even with a large number of firearms in civilian hands, Germany still manages to have 1/5th the homicides, by any method, as the United States.

Maybe, just maybe, overall homicide rates are more complex than simply, "OMG! GUNS!"

Here's some more numbers for you - the United States has more than twice as many people living in poverty than Germany, Germany also has universal health care yet spends almost half as much as a percentage of GDP as the United States.

So yeah, I agree.. We could be doing much better in a lot of things.
Posted by randoma on December 31, 2012 at 9:34 PM · Report this
When is Slog going to ban unregistered commenters? There's no good reason to allow them since they're all trolls.
Posted by sarah70 on December 31, 2012 at 9:46 PM · Report this
NotSean 22
@21 Yurn on your filter. You're Done.
Happy New Year.
Posted by NotSean on December 31, 2012 at 9:54 PM · Report this
Tiffany 23
@20, in Germany you can't walk into a store and buy a semi automatic rifle with 100 round magazine. Here, you can. We also have 3 times the number of gins per capita as Germany.
Posted by Tiffany on December 31, 2012 at 9:54 PM · Report this
TLjr 24
@21: It's easy enough to turn off your view of the unregistered commenters. Getting the registered ones to actually do that is a bit tougher.
Posted by TLjr on December 31, 2012 at 9:55 PM · Report this
@24 sometimes low hanging fruit is too hard to resist.
Posted by CbytheSea on December 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
My point was they should be banned because they're obviously trolls and everything they post is nasty. They call themselves by different names for different posts but they must actually use one ISP -- I doubt they jump around from library to library. Why couldn't/shouldn't they be banned?
Posted by sarah70 on December 31, 2012 at 10:53 PM · Report this
seatackled 27
'Cause as long as they're busy posting nonsense on Slog, they aren't out torturing small mammals?
Posted by seatackled on December 31, 2012 at 11:00 PM · Report this
seatackled 28
And as Pridge noticed last night, the anonymous troll is probably the registered poster Andrew S, who for once apparently forgot to sign out first.…
Posted by seatackled on December 31, 2012 at 11:05 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 29
@28 - sorry for making you look at the unregistereds. :-D

For registered commenters acting trollish, I look at the activity history in their profile. If they've chosen to hide it, that's just confirmation.

Also - what's up with being able to hide your activity? If you cant handle people reading your past comments, why even bother registering?
Posted by Pridge Wessea on December 31, 2012 at 11:36 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 30
[off topic] Thanks for holding down the fort at the Slog. Last day of the year is apparently Goldy Day.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 31, 2012 at 11:50 PM · Report this

As you point out, Germany is a nation of sane people. The US is full of dimwitted fucknuts. Thus Americans should not be allowed the same access to guns they have now. So gun control still makes sense.
Posted by mubhappy on January 1, 2013 at 12:58 AM · Report this

One thing I do know, you and the other meanspirited lowlife urbists, Google bombers, snippy teens and hipsters weren't around back then...and it certainly was a nicer place.

But hey, the unemployment rate is dropping fast in LA and the rents in Manhattan are falling as well.

Maybe it's not long before 45th street is empty at 2pm in the afternoon.

Once again.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 1, 2013 at 1:21 AM · Report this

I know you are...but what am I ?…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 1, 2013 at 1:33 AM · Report this
JensR 34
@20 sure its more complex than just the tool - but the problem is that you guys kinda need to fix the tools designed for killing humans now so you can worry about the rest later.
Plus you have kinda omitted allot of details that make German gun laws different from the US. Ours (Sweden) and their gun laws are similar and the parts you don't mention is the amount of control involved, the steps required. You can't just buy a gun and you can definitely not buy a pistol (again, its a tool thats shit for basically every single thing except killing humans) in the same way as in the US.
Posted by JensR on January 1, 2013 at 1:44 AM · Report this
@34 Washington state has relatively weak gun laws, yet the murder rate in Seattle is very low. Why do you think that is?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 1, 2013 at 6:49 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 37
@35 - why don't you tell us? Somewhere else preferably Andrew.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on January 1, 2013 at 7:02 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 39
@36 - It's so you can imply correlation.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on January 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM · Report this
@39 I think we can put the reason behind Seattle's low murder rate in the 'every body knows it, nobody says it' category.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 1, 2013 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Murder rates are low, let's cry until everybody's guns are taken away regardless!
Posted by suddenlyorcas on January 1, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 42
Yeah, @41. And be sure to especially bitch about those ugly black "assault rifles," which probably didn't account for any of those deaths.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on January 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 43
@41, 42: not in Seattle. Ian Stawicki used 2 .45 caliber handguns, 1/3 of the arsenal he owned and carried legally.

Aurora, Newtown, though...

starting off 2013 as callous as 2012 i see.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
@42 Remember, they're not assault weapons they're home defense appliances.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
"Maybe, just maybe, overall homicide rates are more complex than simply, 'OMG! GUNS!'"

But saying that the situation is a lot more complicated than "OMG! GUNS!" does not get the kind of hits that drive advertising here.
If Goldy was actually interested in addressing this issue, he'd run a continuing list of all shootings here including whether anyone was hit or killed and the reason behind the shooting (as far as can be determined).
But Goldy is more into the grief porn aspect so instead you'll see whatever shooting he is interested in throughout the nation.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on January 1, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 47
@45 - LOL. The State also defeated an initiative that same year that would've given homos discrimination protection. Yet here we are in 2013 with marriage equality given at the ballot box by referendum. What's your point again?
Posted by Pridge Wessea on January 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
@48, Perhaps a more meaningful way of looking at it..

Seattle - poverty rate, 2009 @ 14.5%
Chicago - poverty rate, 2009 @ 27.5%
New Orleans - poverty rate, 2009 @ 31.5%

Anywhere you have large disparities in wealth combined with a large percentage of poor, you're going to have higher crime rates and more homicides. I bet that raising the minimum wage to $16-20/hour (adjusted for area, that's about the minimum you need to keep out of poverty with a 40 hour work week) would have a greater reduction in crime than any firearms bill. Better yet, tie the minimum wage in a company to the highest salary. You want to pay the CEO $10 million a year, that's fine as long as you pay the janitor 100k/year. Don't forget to include stock options and other benefits in total compensation!

@34, I have zero problem with making it harder to own handguns, particularly if part of making it harder includes training and mental health issues. My problem is that the big noise is a "assault weapons" ban. When "assault weapons" make up a miniscule portion of deaths. The difference is that handguns mostly kill the poor and disenfranchised, and apparently we don't give a shit about them.

@23, Have you ever gone into a store and tried to buy a 100 round magazine? Do you know anything about firearms other than what you've seen on TV? If all the crazy-ass psychopaths used 100 round magazines, they'd be out of the picture must faster because their magazines would jam. (See Aurora, CO)

There has not been a single mass-shooter who was not batshit crazy. While it may make 'gun control nuts' feel good to ban "assault weapons" it is not going to do anything to prevent batshit crazy people from killing people if that is what they want to do. And it is also not going to do anything about the majority of firearms violence/death in this country.
Posted by randoma on January 1, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
That was nice -- and well said.


Posted by Mike OC on January 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM · Report this
GlibReaper 55
@46 I would also like to see Goldy (or anyone) do a more detailed rundown of gun violence in Seattle.

I'd also like to see that compared to road rage incidents, which sadly have some overlap as in the case of Yancy Noll (RIP).
Posted by GlibReaper on January 1, 2013 at 10:59 PM · Report this

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