Numbers show an uptick in Bellevue violent crimes in 2018, when compared to numbers of previous years. The category includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. But the numbers also show signs of improvement in property crimes.
There were 188 total violent crimes in 2018, according to stats provided by the police department. In 2017 the number sat at 148.
When factoring in population numbers, the rate of violent crimes in 2018 was 132 instances per 100,000 population. In 2017 there were 105 reported violent crimes per 100,000 population.
Seth Tyler, spokesman for the Bellevue Police Department, said the actual crime numbers per capita are lower than a number of surrounding jurisdictions. A better picture will be painted at the end of March, when crime numbers from the surrounding areas are compiled into a graph, comparing Bellevue to their neighboring cities, he added.
The number of rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults were all higher than numbers reported in 2017. The homicide number remained at zero. Felony arrests were up — growing to 1,462 in 2018 from 1,388 in 2017.
The department’s data shows some decline in the number of reported property crimes.
“Obvious wins for us and residents have been in … things like car prowls and residential burglaries — These are crimes of opportunity,” Tyler said.
There has been a significant decrease in the number of reported car prowls happening in the city. In 2014, there were 1,660 car prowls reported. In 2018, the number dropped to 1,100.
Tyler partially gives credit to the department’s “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it,” initiative. It included a social media campaign, banners and signs reminding drivers of the dangers that come from leaving belongings in plain sight. With fewer opportunities, Tyler said, the numbers go down.
The department’s special enforcement team also could be attributed to the lower numbers, he said. The undercover unit focuses on crime trends and repeat crime offenders. And they’re not bound by city limits.
“If someone is living in another jurisdiction but coming into Bellevue to commit crimes, we will follow them to where we need to, to take them into custody,” Tyler said.
The civilian-clothed authorities have traveled as far as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. They have located homicide suspects fleeing the state and car prowlers hitting homes in multiple areas.
“Criminals don’t care about jurisdiction boundaries,” Tyler said. The team ensures they’re held accountable, no matter where they’re taking place.