2021 report identifies Seattle’s crime hot spots, shows 14-year high for violent crimes

SEATTLE — A 2021 crime report released by the Seattle Police Department shows crime rates are up from 2020, with the violent crime rate reaching a 14-year high.

It also identified trouble spots where officers were dispatched most often in 2021, as well as neighborhoods that had the most shootings last year.

The report says the increase in violent crime from last year came from aggravated assaults, up 24%; and robberies, up 18%. The totals for aggravated assault are the highest reported in the last 10 years.

However, the number of murders last year decreased by 25% and rapes were down 6%.

Overall crime across the city increased by 10%, violent crime increased by 20% and property crime increased by 9%.

Trouble spots

The report identified the top locations in Seattle where officers were dispatched most often as a result of community members calling 911.

They are, in order, with the most first:

  • Rainier Valley Square in South Seattle
  • Target in downtown Seattle
  • Harborview Medical Center
  • Westwood Village in West Seattle
  • DESC Hobson Place, supportive housing in the Judkins Park neighborhood
  • Addison Apartments in Pioneer Square


A 15% increase in larceny (theft) from year-to-year came from the theft of auto parts and accessories, which increased 79% compared to 2020 totals. Motor vehicle thefts were up 8%.

Shootings and shots fired

Shootings and shots fired incidents increased by 40% last year, representing a 10-year high in the city.

The three neighborhoods with the overall largest increases in shootings and shots fired last year were Lake City, Brighton/Dunlap in South Seattle, and the Chinatown-International District.

Looking at last year’s shooting victims by race, 52% were Black or African American, 23% were white, 12% were Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% had no race listed and 1% identified as Native American or Alaska Native.

African American men aged 18 to 25 represented the largest victim demographic.

The report also said homeless-related events for shootings and shots fired increased by 122%.

Since the report’s inception in 2012, there has been more than a 100% increase in shots fired. The previous all-time high on record was in 2020, followed by 2015.

In 2021, there were 612 criminal shootings and shots fired citywide, up 175 from last year.

Top public concerns

A community survey about policing trust and safety was conducted through digital ads last year. Seattle residents identified theft, burglary, break-ins, homelessness, and policing issues as their top neighborhood concerns.

Comments from Seattle’s Mayor

At a news conference Friday, Mayor Bruce Harrell said the police department is dealing with a staffing crisis and is down nearly 350 officers.

Harrell said that’s unacceptable and that he’s focusing on rebuilding the force.

The full report can be seen here (PDF).

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