In 2020, the Pacific Northwest saw huge increases in homicide rates. In the larger cities, the authorities conducted stand-downs and allowed BLM & Antifa to perpetrate violent riots for months. There was a large shift in how state and city leaders treated criminals. Instead of being seen as predators, many politicians began treating violent criminals as victims of circumstance.
This was most pronounced in Portland, where homicides were actually way down during the first half of 2020. Then, city officials allowed months of relentless rioting. This rioting coincided with an explosion of violent crime. Portland ended up with the second-highest number of homicides in its history, with most occurring during the second half of the year.
Let’s look at how the Pacific Northwest faired from 2019 to 2022.
From 2019 to 2022, the homicide rate in Portland increased 185%.
Portland City Homicides:
1993: 54 (465k, 11.61 per 100k) worst year in the 90s
Note: At the end of 2020, Portland media reported a total of 54 homicides. However, the Portland Police Bureau [PPB] later added another three homicides to official statistics. Also, the PPB instituted stricter rules in late 2019 as to what would constitute a “homicide.” Homicide counts from before 2019 used a broader definition.
Before 2020, Spokane had experiences years with as few as 4-6 homicides. Then 2020, they had the most homicides since 1995 and the highest rate since 2002.
From 2019 to 2022, the homicide rate increased 188%.
Spokane City Homicides:
2022: 18 (230k, 7.8 per 100k)
Seattle still has a long way to go to get back to the homicide rates its experienced in the late 80s and early 90s. However, it had an 80% surge in its homicide rate from 2019 to 2022.
Seattle City Homicides:
1994: 69 (529k, 13.0 per 100k)
Seattle’s police department is reporting that they already had 53 homicides in 2023 so far…
In 2020, Tacoma experienced its worst homicide rate since 1997. From 2019 to 2022, the homicide rate increased 134%.
Tacoma City Homicides:
1988: 32 (173k, 18.5 per 100k) – tied for highest rate ever
Oregon State Homicides:
Portland’s Percentage of Oregon Homicides:
Washington State Homicides:
2019: 201 (7,614k, 2.6 per 100k)
2020: 301 (7,694k, 3.9 per 100k) – highest rate since 1998
2021: 325 (7,739k, 4.2 per 100k) – highest rate since 1997
2022: 394 (7,864k, 5.0 per 100k) – highest rate since 1995
Oregon’s homicide rate increased 53.6% from 2019 to 2022, while Washington’s rate increased 92.3%.
The city of Portland, by itself, is the primary driver the statewide homicide rate increase.