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Do I Need a Home Security System for my Washington Home?

What are Crime Rates in Washington?


People who live in Washington state are less likely to be the victims of violent crimes like murder, compared to the national average, but they are more likely to be the victims of property crimes such as burglary.

The rate of violent crime in Washington in 2011 was 294.6 per 100,000 people, significantly less than the national rate of 386.3. (The rate per 100,000 is a common measurement used by states to report crime data to the FBI.)

Specifically, the rates of murder, robbery and aggravated assault were lower than the national average, while the rate of forcible rape was higher.

When it comes to property crimes, Washington residents were more likely to be the victim of the three most common - burglary, theft/larceny and motor vehicle theft. The rate of property crime rate in 2011 was 3,574.6 per 100,000 - significantly higher than the national rate of 2,908.7.

Trends in Washington’s Crime Rate

Overall, crime rates in Washington are on the decline, mirroring a nationwide trend. Here are some statistics to illustrate that from the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs:

  • Washington’s overall crime rate peaked in 2005 and has declined every year since.
  • There were 19,568 violent crimes in the state in 2011, a 5 percent decrease from 2010. Aggravated assault, the most common violent crime, declined 3.5 percent in 2011.
  • There were 239,428 property crimes in 2011, a 3.3 percent decrease from the year prior. Larceny/theft, the most common property crime, declined 4.4 percent.

The Safest and Most Dangerous Places in Washington

Curious to find out how your community stacks up? The 2011 Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs (WASPC) report offers detailed crime data for almost every city, town and county in the state. To access the data, visit the association’s website and click on the Crime in Washington 2011 link.

Stolen Property in Washington

Nearly $324 million worth of property was stolen in Washington in 2011, but just a small portion - less than $90,000 - was recovered. The chart below, also courtesy of WASPC data, shows the total value of commonly stolen items, along with the amount recovered.

TYPE OF PROPERTY STOLEN RECOVERED % RECOVERED
Currency/money $25 million $508,000 2%
Jewelry/precious metals $33 million $1.9 million 6%
Motor vehicles $118 million $78 million 66%
TVs, radios & stereos $19 million $791,000 4%
Firearms $2.9 million $347,000 12%

As you can see, the chances of reclaiming stolen valuables like cash, jewelry or electronics are very slim.

Benefits of a Home Security System

Nearly 20 million American homes are protected by security systems, and for good reason:

  • Studies have proven that home security systems greatly reduce the likelihood of a burglary.
  • Home security systems go a long way in providing peace of mind. You will rest easier knowing that your family and valuables are safe.
  • Modern security systems offer far more than just burglar protection. They can be used to keep an eye on your children or turn lights on and off remotely. Security systems also alert emergency officials in the event of a fire.
  • Security systems are affordable for most families. The cost for an average home is $1,000 to $2,000 to outfit the home with a hardwired alarm system and motion detectors, plus an extra $20 to $50 per month for live monitoring.

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