This Washington City Has Been Named the Murder Capital in the State

Washington State, known for its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, also grapples with crime in various areas. Recent data has highlighted Spokane as the city with the highest murder rate per capita in the state, earning it the unfortunate title of “Murder Capital of Washington.”

Overview of Crime in Washington

  • Statewide Murder Rates: In 2020, Washington reported 228 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters, a 16.9% increase from 2019. The state’s murder rate was 3.0 per 100,000 population, slightly below the national average of 5.0.
  • Cities with Notable Murder Rates: Besides Spokane, cities like Union Gap, Ellensburg, Tacoma, and Yakima also reported high murder rates per capita.

Spokane: A Closer Look

  • Population and Crime Rates: Spokane, with a population of 220,432, is the second-largest city in Washington. Its violent crime rate in 2023 was 381, and its property crime rate was 3846.2 per 100,000 individuals. Both figures exceed the national averages.
  • Murder Rate: Spokane’s murder rate was 2.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in Washington.

Contributing Factors

The high crime rates in Spokane, particularly for murders, can be attributed to a variety of factors:

  • Socio-Economic Issues: Poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and gang activity significantly contribute to the city’s crime rates.
  • Policy Impacts: Recent policies prioritizing the release of offenders with minimal or no bail have posed challenges for law enforcement, leading to an increase in repeat offenders.
  • Quality of Life: High crime rates impact Spokane’s quality of life, safety, and economy, causing concerns among residents and affecting local businesses.

Addressing the Problem

Combating Spokane’s high crime rates requires a multi-faceted approach:

  • Police Resources: Increasing funding and resources for the police department is crucial for better equipment, training, and hiring more officers.
  • Policy Revisions: Adjusting bail and sentencing policies could help in holding violent and repeat offenders accountable.
  • Social Services: Expanding social and mental health services is vital to support vulnerable populations.
  • Community Engagement: Strengthening community trust and cooperation with law enforcement is essential for effective crime prevention and reporting.


While Spokane faces significant challenges as the murder capital of Washington, it is also a city with many strengths, including its rich history and cultural diversity. Addressing its crime issues requires a collaborative and comprehensive approach to create a safer and more prosperous community.

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