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Statistics point to less crime in Federal Way

Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson told city council members Tuesday that crime has decreased, significantly in some areas, so far from 2010 to 2011.

Overall crime has decreased 18.7 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, Wilson said. Areas that showed a marked decrease were rape, robbery and burglary. Rape had the most significant decrease, dropping by 41.7 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011. Robberies in Federal Way were down 36.6 percent over the same period of time, while burglaries dropped 36.1 percent. The categories of theft/larceny and auto theft saw decreases of 15.9 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Looking at a different time frame, Wilson indicated the numbers were just as encouraging. From March 2010 to March 2011, all categories listed saw similar decreases. The number of reported rapes decreased 66 percent in the one-year span, Wilson said, while burglary dropped 29.1 percent. Theft/larceny decreased 21.6 percent, and auto thefts decreased by 18.9 percent. Wilson rounded out the numbers by saying robbery and felony assault had also decreased, the former by 7.7 percent and the latter by 12.5 percent.

“So, looking at March of 2011 to March of 2010, we had a crime decrease of 22.2 percent,” said Wilson. “These are encouraging numbers for us.”

Wilson briefly touched on the cause for the decreases, crediting “hotspot” enforcement, crime analysis and the police department’s presence in the community as factors that have led to these positive statistics.

If these preliminary numbers pan out over the rest of the year, they will hold with the overall pattern Federal Way has experienced since 2009. According to statistics from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Federal Way experienced a slight increase of 2.7 percent in overall crime from 2009 to 2010. However, violent crimes in Federal Way dropped 11.9 percent during 2009-10. In that same reporting period, Federal Way experienced a decrease of 2 percent for reported rapes and 23.2 percent for robbery. Arson decreased 15.4 percent during that span, and reports of larceny dropped by 2.8 percent.

In comparison, the city of Kent experienced an increase of 14.9 percent in overall crime and only had a 1.2 percent decrease in violent crimes between 2009-10, according to data from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. In Kent, only rape and burglary saw a marked decrease during 2009-10. Every other reported category of crime in Kent saw an increase of at least 10 percent between 2009 and 2010, statistics show.

Cmdr. Stan McCall also spoke at the city council meeting Tuesday. McCall reviewed the red light photo enforcement program instituted by the city in 2008, and the more recent installation of the same systems at school zones in Federal Way.

McCall said the red light program had an immediate impact, with over 4,000 citations made in its first few months of existence. Those violations were recorded by cameras at the intersections of 320th Street and Pacific Highway, and 348th Street and Enchanted Parkway. The year before the program’s rollout, only 160 red light violations were issued, he said.

With the installation of two red light enforcement photo systems in school zones in Federal Way, McCall said violations in such zones have decreased as well.

“There has been a 25 percent drop off in violations in school zones between quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2010,” he said.

Overall, McCall said there has been a 27 percent drop in collisions at 320th Street and Pacific Highway, and a 24 percent drop at 348th Street and Enchanted Parkway. During the third and fourth quarters of 2009, a 59 percent decrease in red light violations occurred.

CRIME AT A GLANCE IN FEDERAL WAY

First Quarter 2010

Homicide: 3

Rape: 12

Robbery: 41

Felony Assault: 23

Burglary: 230

Larceny/Theft: 787

Auto Theft: 161

Arson: 2

Total: 1,259

First Quarter 2011

Homicide: 2

Rape: 7

Robbery: 26

Felony Assault: 23

Burglary: 147

Larceny/Theft: 662

Auto Theft: 153

Arson: 3

Total: 1,023

Source: Federal Way Police Department

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