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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Which crimes spiked and which dipped in 2020?

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 1, 2021

An investigator with Spokane Valley Fire works the interior of an arson-caused apartment fire Monday. A 15-year-old girl was arrested and accused of setting fire to her family’s residence in the Balfourwood Apartments on South Dartmouth Street in Spokane Valley.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
An investigator with Spokane Valley Fire works the interior of an arson-caused apartment fire Monday. A 15-year-old girl was arrested and accused of setting fire to her family’s residence in the Balfourwood Apartments on South Dartmouth Street in Spokane Valley. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The year of the COVID-19 pandemic, societal unrest and wildfires brought a mix of crime spikes and dips in Spokane.

Most violent crime was down compared to last year, while arson incidents shot up from 46 to 107 – a staggering 132% – and homicides more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to the Spokane Police Department’s most recent crime statistics report published Thursday.

Reports of rape decreased 14% from 243 in 2019 to 208, nondomestic violence aggravated assault decreased about 13% from 535 to 463 and domestic violence aggravated assault dipped 13% too from 347 to 302.

Commercial robbery was down a third and car theft was down 13% while personal robbery was about the same in 2020 and 2019. Garage and commercial burglary rose about 8% each at the same time.

While the statistics report showed 19 homicides in 2020 and six in 2019, Spokane police spokesperson Sgt. Terry Preuninger said those numbers are slightly off due to originally undetermined cases that could have been suicide being determined as homicides.

Preuninger said there were 20 confirmed homicides in 2020 and 7 in 2019, amounting to a 186% increase in killings.

The city’s trends echo national trends in cities across the country, where homicides have increased sharply and other violent crimes have dipped, according to a New York Times report.

In the county outside city limits, which records fewer crimes in general, rape reports were down 27% from last year, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office most recent statistics report for November 2020.

Aggravated assault, not broken down by domestic violence or nondomestic violence in the county’s report, was up 18% this year.

Vehicle theft in the county was about the same in 2020 and 2019. Robbery was up 4% and all varieties of burglary increased. Commercial burglary was the largest jump, with a 70% increase.

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