FBI: Violent crime up in Seattle and Washington in 2016, but murders specifically down

While violent crime increased in Seattle and Washington state last year compared to 2015, the city and state both saw double-digit decreases in the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters committed during the same time period, according to FBI data released Monday.

While Seattle mirrored national statistics that showed violent crime increased in 2016 for the second consecutive year, the number of murders committed in the city decreased for the second straight year while a significant rise in the number of rapes could be attributable to an increase in the reporting of sexual assaults to police.

The FBI on Monday issued its 2016 crime report, which consists of data collected from police agencies across the country and released annually. Violent crimes are those committed against people and fall into one of four categories: murder and non-negligent manslaughter; rape; robbery; and aggravated assault.

The FBI data do not include justifiable homicides or unintentional killings that result from recklessness or criminal negligence, such as killing someone while driving drunk.

In 2016, violent crime increased nationally by 4.1 percent compared to 2015, with murder increasing by 8.6 percent during that time, The New York Times reported. That increase comes one year after violent crime increased 3.9 percent and murders by 10.8 percent.

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Both The New York Times and The Associated Press noted the Trump administration has repeatedly said the nation is in the midst of a crime wave that requires more arrests and harsher penalties, including for drug crimes.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday called on law enforcement to “confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime,” the AP reported, noting Sessions has used the threat of rising violence as an impetus for many of his sweeping policy changes — including seeking tougher sentences and focusing on prosecuting gun cases.

But criminologists warned the new numbers may not indicate the start of a long-term trend because violent crime remains well below rates seen in the 1980s and early 1990s. And even compared to a decade ago, violent crime in 2016 is 18 percent lower than it was in 2007, and the murder rate is 6 percent lower than it was then, according to AP.

Seattle’s violent-crime rate increased 4.9 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, following a 2.4 percent increase between 2014 and…

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