Seattle counted 29 homicides in 2006, 21 of them by a firearm, reports the city’s Post-Intelligencer. Two of those shootings were ruled as justifiable and in self-defense. Last year marked the city’s highest number of homicides in three years and reflected an upward trend in violent crime nationwide that police chiefs and criminologists are trying to interpret.
The increasing number of homicides has ended a steady decline in violent crime that many large American cities enjoyed during the past decade. Those slain in Seattle, still one of the nation’s safest cities, last year included a man stabbed to death by his sister’s estranged husband, and a cab driver caught in the cross fire when a woman in a brawl began shooting. The oldest was 60. The youngest was 14. Three were beaten to death. Four were stabbed. “There’s not a pattern,” Seattle police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said of Seattle’s crime rate. “It’s a little bit of everything.”