Unsurprisingly, statistics just released by the FBI show a marked increase in Kirkland crime from 2010 to 2011. The culprit? Most likely, annexation.
Midway through 2011, the city added some 31,000 people to its population, now about 81,000, with the annexation of three northern neighborhoods that had previously been patrolled by the King County Sheriff's Office.
The FBI statistics released Monday include 10 categories, and in Kirkland they show increases from 2010 to 2011 in seven, with two categories decreasing and one at the same level.
Violent crime overall jumped from 62 cases in 2010 to 74 in 2012. Robbery cases actually declined from 23 in 2010 to 15 in 2011, and reported motor vehicle thefts dropped from 101 to 97. Arson cases remained the same, five cases in each of the two years.
There were no murders in Kirkland during 2010, but one in 2011. That would be the stabbing death of 19-year-old Scarlett Paxton on Nov. 30 in the annexation neighborhood of north Juanita; a former soldier and Kirkland resident remains in jail facing a charge of first-degree murder in the case.
Aggravated assault cases increased from 28 to 38 from 2010 to 2011, and other increases were noted in overall property crimes (1,361/1,472), burglary (207/253), larceny theft (1,053/1,133), and most notably, forcible rape, jumping from 11 to 20.
“Probably the thing that is most discouraging is forcible rape going up that amount,” said Kirkland Police Department spokesman Lt. Mike Murray. He noted, however, that the increase to some extent could be a reflection of increased reporting due to an increased focus by police on the reporting of domestic violence.
“Our family violence unit has been more active to try to get more people to report when something happens in domestic situations,” he said, a response to concerns that partners often are afraid to report crimes in situations of spousal abuse.
Murray noted that the crime of burglary remains a concern and area of focus by the Kirkland Police Department.
“Burglaries are one of the issues our patrol officers and neighborhood resource officers have been working hardest on,” he said. “We're telling people, 'Don’t hesitate to call if you see something that could be a burglary.' When people call is when we catch these guys, as we know from recent cases.”
Burglary suspects were captured by Kirkland police after calls by citizens in cases on Rose Hill earlier this month and the Bridle Trails area in February.
For the full FBI crime statistics for 2011, click here, and for 2010, click here. Note that while the 2011 report did not list Kirkland's increased population due to annexation, the figures do include crimes that occurred in 2011 in the new neighborhoods after annexation, since they are based on Kirkland Police Department reporting.