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FBI Report Confirms Low Crime Rate on Mercer Island

The annual FBI report "Crime in the United States" compiles crime data and crime rates from 18,200 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The FBI released its annual "Crime in the United States" report on Monday for American cities in 2011, providing an official snapshot of last year's crime trends.

Nationally, violent crime fell for the fifth year in a row, dropping 4.5 percent (per 100,000 people). Property crime fell for the ninth year in a row, dropping by 1.3 percent. In Washington state, crime is also down. The rate of violent crime for Washington’s cities decreased by 6.0 percent (per 100,000 people), and its property crime rate decreased by 3.4 percent (per 100,000 people).

On Mercer Island, however, property crime rates last year drove crime rates back up to historically average levels for the community after a relatively low-crime rate in 2010. Overall, the FBI tallied 418 reported "UCR Type 1" crimes on Mercer Island to determine the crime rate, with the vast majority of criminal activity attributed to larceny/theft (334 cases), which includes car prowls. The Mercer Island Police Department reported a year-over-year increase of 24.9 percent for 2011 in the city's crime rate.

The MIPD recently reported a significant increase in the number of burglaries this year on Mercer Island, which will be documented in next year's report.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects data on specific violent crimes (murder & non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and specific property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft).

Mercer Island's property crime is roughly 18 property crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crime levels are also relatively low for the city's size — only three robberies and nine aggravated assaults were reported last year, meaning the rate is .5 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

Mercer Island retains the second-lowest crime rate of Eastside cities, according to the statistics. 

Of all cities in the state, ex-urban Duvall had the lowest rate, while Tukwila had the highest crime rate (due mainly to the city's small population — 19,407 — and the high number of thefts associated with its Southcenter Mall — the state's largest retail mall).

Comparing cities nationally in 2011 to 2010, six of the seven categories saw decreases nationally; only the number of burglaries increased nationally, and that increase was slight (0.2 percent per 100,000 people).

In nearby Seattle, there were decreases in the number of robberies, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts. There was a slight increase in the number of murders/non-negligent manslaughters (19 to 20) and increases in the number of rapes, aggravated assaults and burglaries.

In neighboring Bellevue, there were decreases in the number of aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle thefts, and a slight decrease in the number of robberies (59 to 58). There was a slight increase in the number of murders/non-negligent manslaughters (0 to 1) and an increase in the number of rapes (23, up from 10).

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