Salem’s Violent Crime Rates Show Recent Increase, Although Not as Large as Us

While murder rates have risen dramatically in cities throughout the country in recent years, data suggests that violent crime rates in Salem have risen more slowly.

In the United States, homicide rates have risen in recent years as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic and societal instability. In 2020, the FBI recorded an almost 30% spike in murders, the highest single-year increase since the organisation started tracking crime figures six decades ago.

Similarly, murder rates in major cities around the nation have risen dramatically. In 2020, Portland had 55 murders, the highest in 26 years. The city then set an all-time high with 90 murders last year, according to the Associated Press.

Residents throughout Oregon are concerned about the increase. Homelessness and violence were among the top challenges in the Portland region, according to a 500-person study done late last year by DHM Research. All 19 Oregon governor candidates running in the May 17 primary believe that the state needs more police officers, not only to address homelessness, but to address a general rise in crime.

According to the newest data from the Salem Police Department’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) figures, the violent crime rate in Oregon’s capital city has been steadily increasing, especially during the last six years.

Homicides, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are examples of violent crimes. The number of crimes per 100,000 persons is reflected in the rate. According to Dr. Miyuki Arimoto, James Bents, and Mari Sakiyama of Western Oregon University’s Criminal Justice Sciences Division, violent crime in the city remained steady for the first half of a 15-year period beginning in 2007, with a decline between 2013 and 2016.

According to the academics’ research of the police department’s statistics, the figures changed in 2016, and violent crime rates have been progressively rising since then. The data does indicate some erratic changes from year to year. For example, violent crime rates in the city fell 17 percent in 2010 before rising 18 percent in 2017.

According to research, Salem’s violent crime rate increased 10% last year, after two years of small declines.

Homicides have varied dramatically year after year. In 2021, police reported nine killings, a 50 percent increase over the previous year but equal to the number of murders in 2019.

With 620 instances in 2021, aggravated assaults make up the majority of violent crime in Salem. Last year, rape reports remained unchanged, but robbery and serious assault reports increased by 12 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Chief Trevor Womack of the Salem Police Department voiced alarm about the city’s escalating violent crime rate, estimating a 35 percent rise since 2007.

“As our community has developed, the characteristics of violent crime have altered,” Womack said. “Individual victims suffer the most from these crimes, which also engender real dread in afflicted communities. Our task is to reduce such figures in a strategic manner while maintaining community confidence. That will require time, effort, and money.”

Salem’s violent crime rate was 431 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, which was lower than similar-sized cities around the nation.

According to the FBI’s most recent statistics, the crime rate in cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,999 was 452 per 100,000 in 2019. According to national statistics, violent crime rates in similar cities have reduced by 29% since 2007.

Salem’s violent crime rate peaked at 463 per 100,000 in 2021. UCR data for 2020 and 2021 has yet to be released by the FBI.

Over the last 15 years, property crime rates have altered as well. The data reveals that rates in Salem have been on a downward trend since 2007, with the exception of a “irregular” rise in 2017, according to WOU academics.

Burglary, auto theft, larceny, and arson are all examples of property crime. While the rate of property crime in Salem has decreased, it is still much higher than in similar-sized cities.

In Salem, arson reports have increased by roughly 160 percent in the last two years. In 2021, police received 135 arson complaints, a 15-year high.

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However, total property crime rates have declined by 20% since 2018, with the latest rise being in 2017.

The property crime rate was 3,939 per 100,000 last year. According to FBI statistics, similar-sized cities throughout the nation had a rate of 2,704 per 100,000.

The Statesman Journal’s breaking news and public safety correspondent is Virginia Barreda. Her phone number is 503-399-6657, and her email address is [email protected]. @vbarreda2 is her Twitter handle.

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