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Mercer Island Crime Rate Second-Lowest on Eastside, Says City

A City Hall performance review of last year shows Mercer Island is second only to Sammamish as the safest place on the Eastside.

Mercer Island is known for good schools and low crime rates. And now an annual city performance review released last week says it is one of the safest on the Eastside.

Despite a number of last year, recorded some of the lowest crime numbers in over a decade in 2010 and has the second lowest violent and property crime rates among six Eastside cities, according to City Hall's 2010 Mercer Island Dashboard Report. The report offers an "at-a-glance" review of key indicators on the city's highest priorities — which includes public safety.

Last year, police reported a drop of over 20 percent in the crime rate from 2009 based on violent and property crime (see the table below for a more detailed look at types of crimes and crime rates over the last 5-6 years). Only 341 crimes were documented, which police said was the equivalent of 14.9 offenses per 1,000 residents.

Only Sammamish's crime rates were lower, at 9.7 offenses per 1,000 residents.

"Our crime statistics have always been some of the lowest in the Puget Sound area," said Mercer Island Police spokesperson Cmdr. Leslie Burns. "If you compare them to neighboring agencies, I think you will find our overall percentages of crimes are lower."

The other cities in the comparison are Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah and Redmond. The report for 2010 also reported Mercer Island enjoys the second-lowest traffic accident rate of the same Eastside cities and a 5.3 minute average police emergency response time is slightly above the five-year average.

The report attributed the low crime figures to "a very small commercial sector, a road network consisting of very few arterials, and the demographics of this community (i.e. highly educated and high median household income)." Proactive police enforcement and educational outreach programs are also believed to contribute to the City’s very low crime rates.

One main difference between Mercer Island and Sammamish, the report notes, is the presence of Interstate 90 and the belief that the road invites more crime. Sammamish is not near a major freeway, making it less accessible.

MIPD Cmdr. Burns also said property crime was the community's biggest safety problem, but the numbers overall are lower than many other cities.

Mercer Island Mayor Jim Pearman said he thought the Island's strong sense of community contributes to the level of public safety.

"This is Mayberry here," he said. "People can walk to the park anytime, day or night, and have few worries … Sometimes it seems we don't appreciate how good it is."

EASTSIDE CITIES CRIME RATES (violent crimes per 1,000

residents/property crimes per 1,000 residents), 2006-2010

City 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Sammamish 0.3/11.9 0.2/13.8 0.4/10.5 0.3/8.7 0.4/9.3 Mercer Island 1.0/21.3 0.3/17.9 0.6/18.7 0.5/18.1 0.6/14.3 Issaquah 0.4/46.6 0.4/35.0 0.6/31.0 0.7/23.6 1.1./27.1 Bellevue 1.6/36.6 1.2/35.6 1.4/36.1 1.3/32.9 1.1/30.9 Redmond 1.3/35.0 1.5/33.3 1.3/32.9 1.1/31.9 1.2/29.1 Kirkland 1.9/39.7 1.4/39.5 2.0/40.2 1.2/33.7 1.3/27.5 King Co. Average 4.1/51.5 3.7/44.5 3.5/40.4 3.9/42.0 3.4/41.1

MERCER ISLAND UCR PART 1 CRIME STATISTICS, 2005-2010

Offense

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Homicide

0

0

0

0

0

0

Rape

0

2

0

0

2

1

Robbery

2

2

1

3

2

4

Aggravated Assault

4

2

0

10

7

8

Simple Assault

31

24

26

43

49

43

Burglary

69

75

76

79

74

51

Theft

323

253

194

316

323

266

Auto Theft

37

25

29

32

14

10

DUI Arrests

--

53

47

57

50

76


 

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