Everything from auto theft to homicide in Seattle dropped to 40-year lows in 2007, continuing a downward trend in the city’s crime rate, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Mayor Greg Nickels and Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said Seattle’s streets remain some of the nation’s safest, despite a New Year that began with one woman killed, another savagely attacked, and two teenage boys fatally shot within a week of one another.
Twenty-four people were killed in Seattle last year, compared with 105 in Milwaukee, 66 in Boston, and 181 in Washington, D.C., which are all similarly sized cities, Nickels said. In Seattle, assaults involving firearms, which had increased the past few years, plummeted 18 percent. Nickels and Kerlikowske attributed the sinking crime rate to a strong economy, the police department’s above-average rate of solving cases and a well-educated community, as well as concentrated enforcement on repeat offenders and the most prolific car thieves. Nickels pledged to tackle problems with gangs and youth violence. He also renewed his call for stricter laws on gun sales between individuals. “It shouldn’t be easier for a teenager to get a gun than a driver’s license. We must do more to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of teenagers,” he said.