SEATTLE — A new report from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office shows an alarming increase in gun violence in 2021 over the four years prior.
2021 marked a year riddled with gun violence in King County.
“The years before the pandemic had a pretty steady report every single year and then, starting 2020 and 2021, we’ve seen [gun violence] just go through the roof,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney, Dan Satterberg.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office released its fifth annual ‘Shots Fired Report’ Monday, confirming what many had assumed and it made clear what many assume – 2021 was a violent year in our community.
The numbers in the report, show a staggering 1,405 shots fired incidents during the 2021 calendar year – a 54% increase over the average from the four years prior.
In total, there were 460 fatal and non-fatal shooting victims, a 70% increase.
Of those, there were 372 non-fatal shooting victims, that’s up 82% – and 88 fatalities, a 54% increase.
The report is compiled using data from law enforcement agencies across King County.
The city of Seattle, which is home to nearly 800,00 King County residents, has long been the epicenter of incidents. But, according to the new report, 62% of shots fired incidents occurred outside of Seattle city limits.
“This is such a big societal problem, and it involves so many factors including the easy availability of guns, economic distress, uncertainty of pandemic, all of these things that go into that,” Satterberg said.
Since the pandemic began, the agency noted a spike in gun-related domestic violence cases, road rage incidents and reckless discharges.
“We’ve seen an increase, also within Seattle, with increases in shots fired incidents around homeless encampments,” said Brian Wynne, Supervisor of the Crime Strategies and Violent Crimes Units for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “It’s a variation within the data of the last two years that we have not previously seen.”
And while the data is comprised mainly of men ages 18 to 24, the agency is seeing an increase in the number of female victims and suspects.
Satterberg said the numbers do not paint a clear solution, but they are a good indication of which areas need additional resources for prevention and intervention.
“The ripple effects of violence of each one of these 460 cases, is really involves the millions and tens of millions of dollars of lost opportunity, increased pressure on our healthcare system, and really to add to the misery of people who are already living in communities that are just on the edge and have been communities of disinvestment over the years,” said Satterberg.
“This information does give the data that we need to make smart investments in intervention and prevention and building up communities where violence is likely to happen and it will pay for itself over time,” he continued.
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