Geographical distribution map of shots fired incidents in the first quarter of 2023 in King County. (Courtesy of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.)

King County sees reduction in gun violence in first quarter of 2023

King County sees reduction in gun violence in first quarter of 2023

King County saw 348 shootings in its first quarter of 2023, with 17 firearm homicide deaths and 50 nonfatal shooting victims — a total of 67 shooting victims.

The numbers serve as a reduction from previous quarters’ rates of firearm violence.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s Crime Strategies Unit released its firearm violence report for the first quarter of 2023, not including suicides and self-inflicted shootings and officer-involved shootings.

The study provides data regarding the geographical distribution of firearm violence, victim demographics, and historical comparisons of firearm violence rates.

Geographic distribution

The Crime Strategies Unit aggregates data from more than 20 agencies in King County, with eight agencies contributing a majority of the data — including Seattle, Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tukwila, and the King County Sheriff’s Office.

According to official population estimates from the Washington Office of Financial Management for 2022, King County held an estimated population of 2,317,700 residents.

Seattle accounted for 45% of the number of total shootings in King County in the first quarter of 2023.

With an estimated population of 762,500, estimations see approximately 33% of residents as located in Seattle.

The Auburn Police Department reported 30 shootings in the first quarter of 2023, making up approximately 9% of shots fired incidents.

The Office of Financial Management’s 2022 report estimated Auburn to have a population of 78,690, approximately 3% of King County’s total estimated population.

The Kent Police Department reported 29 shootings, approximately 8% of shootings in the first quarter of 2023 in King County.

Approximately 6% of King County residents live in Kent, according to the Office of Financial Management’s estimates, with the city having an estimated population of 137,900 in 2022.

The Federal Way Police Department reported 19 total shootings, making up approximately 5% of incidents.

With an estimated population of 101,800, approximately 4% of King County residents live in Federal Way.

The Renton Police Department reported 17 shootings, approximately 5% out of the 348 total shootings in the first quarter of 2023.

The Office of Financial Management estimated Renton to have a population of 107,500 in 2022, approximately 5% of the total estimated population of King County.

Victim demographics

The Crime Strategies Unit’s study identified 47 out of the 67 shooting victims in the first quarter of 2023 — approximately 70% of victims — as non-white individuals.

The study identified Black shooting victims as the greatest proportion of the 67 shooting victims as per race and ethnicity, with non-Hispanic white shooting victims second, Hispanic and Latino shooting victims third, Asian and Pacific Islanders fourth, and multiracial victims last. The report lists no Native American shooting victims.

According to the study, men served as 58 of the 67 — approximately 87% — shooting victims in the first quarter of 2023.

As per the ages of the victims, the study identified five of the 67 victims as zero to 17-years-old; 16 of the victims as 18 to 24-years-old; 41 of the victims as 25 to 49-years-old; and five of the victims as 50 to 99-years-old.

Historical comparisons

A comparison between the Crime Strategy Unit’s 2022 first quarter firearm violence report and 2023 first quarter report shows a reduction in both the number of shootings and shooting victims.

In the first quarter of 2022, the Crime Strategy’s Unit listed a total of 384 shots fired incidents, with 22 firearm homicide deaths and 91 nonfatal shooting victims — a total of 113 shooting victims.

That’s 36 less than the 348 total shots fired incidents of 2023’s first quarter, an approximate 9% reduction. Moreso, the number of shooting victims fell approximately 41%, with 67 total shooting victims, 46 less than in the first quarter of 2022 — with five less firearm homicide deaths and 41 less nonfatal shooting victims.

According to the study, in comparison to the average of the previous five quarters of data, from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter of 2022, the first quarter of 2023 saw a 3% decrease in total shots fired incidents, and a 34% decrease in the number of total shooting victims. The number of fatal shooting victims declined approximately 17%. Nonfatal shooting victims declined approximately 41%.

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