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News / Clark County News

Analysis: Camas ranks among Washington’s safest cities

By Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times
Published: February 21, 2020, 7:46pm

SEATTLE — If you’re looking to move somewhere safe in Washington, you might want to consider Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, West Richland in Benton County, Camas, Snoqualmie or Bainbridge Island.

Those are the safest Washington cities, according to a recent analysis of FBI data by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade organization for home-security businesses. The analysis looked at statistics for violent crime and property crime.

“Washington’s crime situation is a bit unusual,” according to the report. “The state boasts a violent crime rate considerably below the national average, yet has a significant property crime issue, mainly in Seattle and its other large cities. Nevertheless, Washington is home to a handful of cities where neither violent nor property crime are a significant issue.”

To identify the safest cities, researchers reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics, eliminating any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 U.S. cities, including 73 in Washington that met the criteria.

To find the crime rates, the company added up the number of violent crimes (murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and property crimes (which include burglary, motor-vehicle theft and arson) in a city in 2018, then divided that number by a city’s population.

In addition, the number of crimes was divided by the number of law-enforcement employees to arrive at what the study calls “police adequacy.” The two tallies combined to create a safety score for each city.

Scoring best this year:

Oak Harbor, a city of 23,330 people, had a violent-crime rate just above one per 1,000 residents and a property-crime rate just below seven per 1,000.

West Richland, a city of about 15,000 in Benton County, had 11 total violent crimes in 2018, giving it a remarkably low violent-crime rate of 0.73 per 1,000 residents in 2018.

Camas, a city of nearly 24,000 people had just 0.8 violent crimes per 1,000 residents in 2018.

Snoqualmie topped this list last year, but it has dropped a few spots due to a property-crime rate of 12.12 per 1,000 residents, double the rate in Oak Harbor. However, Snoqualmie boasts the lowest violent-crime rate in the state as it totaled just three violent crimes in 2018.

Bainbridge Island, the second-largest city in Kitsap County and the largest among the five safest cities, logged about one violent crime per 1,000 residents in 2018.

Oak Harbor, West Richland and Snoqualmie also made the top five in last year’s rankings, along with Sunnyside and Enumclaw. Scoring as least safe that year were University Place, Spokane, Tacoma, Federal Way and Kent.