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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Washington (2024 Update)

Spokane, WA

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

According to the latest statistics released by the FBI, the national average violent crime rate is 366.7, and the average property crime rate is 178.6 per 100,000 people. In the list below, we will discuss how ten of the most dangerous cities in Washington (in no particular order) stack up to that national average and some of the contributing factors.

divider 5 The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Washington: A Quick Look

1. Spokane, WA

Spokane, WA
Image Credit: jwheeler12, Pixabay
  • Population: 220,432
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 381
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 2.3
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 3846.2

For being one of the biggest cities in Washington, Spokane’s violent crime isn’t very high above the national average. However, property crime is through the roof. According to a local news source, violent crime and homicides have climbed in the last two years.

This increase seems to be partly due to policies put into place during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that prioritized the release of criminals with little or no bail. These new policies have made it difficult for local law enforcement to do their jobs effectively.

2. Tukwila, WA

International Boulevard in Tukwila, WA
International Boulevard in Tukwila, WA (Image Credit: SounderBruce from Seattle, United States via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Population: 20,196
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 457.5
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 4.9
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 1193.1

Unlike Spokane, Tukwila is one of the smallest cities in Washington. As a result, crime rates and murders per capita are much higher than the national average. Tukwila’s crime skyrocketed in the early 2000s; however, it has hovered in relative stability over the last few years. It’s good that it’s not still going up, but it hasn’t improved.

3. Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay
  • Population: 724,305
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 396.6
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 3.7
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 414.1

Since Seattle is Washington’s largest city, it is commendable that the crime averages are not soaring above the national averages like some other cities on this list. However, all the stats are still well above, so it has earned a place here. One positive note is the steady drop in violent crime over the last years after they began climbing in the early 2010s.

4. Bellingham, WA

Bellingham, WA
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
  • Population: 91,906
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 220.1
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 3.9
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 2100.9

Violent crime is lower than the national average in Bellingham, but property crime is relatively high. Another concerning factor is the high murder rate per capita, especially when compared to a city like Seattle, which is significantly larger with a lower murder rate.

A positive note on the murder rate is that the latest year’s stats seemed to be an anomaly. The murder rate is generally lower than the national average and other violent crimes. Still, one thing is sure; don’t forget to lock the door!

5. Walla Walla, WA

Osterman House Walla Walla, WA
Osterman House Walla Walla, WA (Image Credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 33,047
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 237.9
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 4.9
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 2426.1

Another city on our list with a relatively low violent crime rate compared to the rest of the States is Walla Walla. But once again, smaller doesn’t mean safer. Walla Walla’s high property crime rate and a shocking number of murders per capita secure its place on this list. The city’s Crime-Free Rental Housing initiative is an unusual approach to a safer community. The local police department, landlords, and tenants work together to create a safer rental housing experience for the community.

6. Lakewood, WA

Entrance to Lakewood Towne Center
Entrance to Lakewood Towne Center (Image Credit: Brett VA via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)
  • Population: 60,111
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 423.5
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 3.3
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 417.0

Lakewood is one city on this list that may not be on it in the future. While the violent and property crime averages are currently much higher than the national averages, according to stats released by the local police department, Lakewood has seen a steady decline in crime since 2004. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but the overall trend is a downward one. We can only guess what this means for the future, but here’s to hoping there is one less city on this list next year.

7. Aberdeen, WA

Becker Office Building Aberdeen, WA
Becker Office Building Aberdeen, WA (Image Credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 16,456
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 297.7
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 6.0
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 338.3

With Aberdeen’s violent crime rate comfortably below the national average and property crime only a bit higher, it comes as an absolute shock when we see six murders per capita in a city of less than 20,000. Data collected from 18,000 local law enforcement agencies suggests that not only is Aberdeen one of the most dangerous cities in Washington, but it is more dangerous the 94% of the cities in the country. Factors that play into these alarming statistics are the severity of the crime and the concentrated nature due to the city’s small size.

8. Shelton, WA

Mason County Courthouse Shelton, Washington
Mason County Courthouse Shelton, Washington (Image Credit: Ian Poellet via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 10,167
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 349.9
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 0.0
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 405.0

One look at stats around Washington and the rest of the United States showcases how impressive it was that Shelton did not have any murders last year, according to the latest stats available. One might think that this would keep Shelton off a ‘most dangerous cities’ list, but unfortunately, the city still has a relatively high violent and property crime rate compared to the national average. One thing to note is that even though it is a small city, some areas are significantly safer, like the southeast.

9. Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA
Image Credit: rickh6215, Pixabay
  • Population: 212,869
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 470.2
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 7.3
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 456.7

Even though it is a similar size to Spokane, Tacoma is considerably more dangerous. Both violent and property crimes are well above the national average, but the most shocking is the murder rate. Only one city on this list has a higher per capita rate.

With a “per capita” stat, the physical number is also higher when the population is higher. So, 7.3 murders per capita in Tacoma worked out to be 16 actual murders in the latest year that City Data gathered these stats. Fortunately, all the crime stats across the board in Tacoma were down slightly compared to previous years. Still, this city has a long way to go to get off this list.

10. Toppenish, WA

Keck Building Toppenish, WA
Keck Building Toppenish, WA (Image Credit: publichall via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 8,873
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 532.7
  • Murder rate (per 100k): 11.3
  • Property Crime (per 100k): 619.5

Last on our list and probably the most shocking is Toppenish. This sleepy little town is anything but sleepy! When considering it has a population of less than 10,000, you must wonder how the violent and property crime and murders per capita are so out of control.

One interesting piece of the puzzle is that there are such blurry jurisdictional lines for local law enforcement due to the Yakama Reservation territory conflicting with surrounding jurisdictions [Seattle Times]. This, in turn, creates a frustrating powder keg that local officers cannot always diffuse.

Is it Getting Any Better in Washington?

It would have been a scary answer if this question had been asked a few years ago. But now, we are seeing a slight improvement in most crime categories in many cities within the State. Washington is truly a beautiful state, and it’s a shame that crime has been rampant in the past, but we look forward to brighter days.

How to Stay Safe in the Dangerous Cities of Washington

If you find yourself living in a dangerous city, you can do things to stay safe. Make sure you lock your vehicle, doors, and windows diligently. It is incredible how effective this is in cutting down on property crime. Also, investing in a reputable security system can deter would-be intruders. And when you are out and about, always stay alert to your surroundings.

Even when visiting a dangerous city, you can keep yourself safe. One practical way you can do this is by dressing modestly without expensive jewelry or accessories so you don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Another is to ask a local resident if there are particular areas you should avoid; sometimes, even the time of day can make a difference to the safety of certain places.

Related Read: 8 Most Dangerous Cities In Florida (2022 Update)


divider 5 Conclusion

There are 581 cities in Washington, ranging in populations from 4 to 737,000. As we saw in this list, smaller does not always equal safer. But if low crime rates are the deciding factor in where you live, we hope this list has served its purpose in showing some of the most dangerous cities.


Featured Image Credit: pocketlama, Pixabay


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