Monday, April 27, 2015

Thoughts on a Jail Part IV: WA Population Growth, Prosperity and Crime, Police and Community

Above: Population Growth of WA counties: 1990 - 2013. Click to Enlarge.
Below: Top ten cities for total growth (diff) 2010 -  2014. Sources:
County Jurisdiction X2010 X2014 rate diff
King Kirkland 48,787 82,590 40.93% 33,803
King Seattle 608,660 640,500 4.97% 31,840
King Kent 92,411 121,400 23.88% 28,989
King Burien 33,313 48,240 30.94% 14,927
King Bellevue 122,363 134,400 8.96% 12,037
Franklin Pasco 59,781 67,770 11.79% 7,989
King Bothell 17,090 24,610 30.56% 7,520
King Renton 90,927 97,130 6.39% 6,203
Clark Vancouver 161,791 167,400 3.35% 5,609

Before I start with a statistical piece on the growing population of WA, I want to tell a story; a violent story. In fact, this was the last violent episode we had to endure/know/witness as my wife and I were leaving Oakland for Bellingham.  Although it was hardly the most violent memory or story I can tell, it was a story that meant something to me years later.  We were packing that day. Preparing for a huge move and change in our lives that would eventually take us to where we are now: proud but exhausted Bellingham parents and homeowners.  In Oakland, CA there is a considerable amount of gun violence and death. Generally, Oakland's population of 400K compares in yearly homicides with those murdered in WA state which currently has a population of about 7M.  That level of crime has widespread socioeconomic effects and changes the nature of law and justice in your city and county.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thoughts on a Jail Part III : Letter to Whatcom County Council

Dear Council Members

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the subject of Jail building in Whatcom County.  I have been data blogging on crime,arrests and jail capacity statistics since meeting Joy Gilfilen and Irene Morgan three weeks ago @ . I have four points I would like to make:

(1) Law and Justice spending is a significant cost to city and county budgets.
(2) Some analysis shows that public safety is increased with public prosperity.
(3) An analysis of historical, current crime and prosperity of existing cities can provides us with templates for our own growth in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
(4) Data analysis is probably an underutilized tool for small counties that could help with planning and modeling the economic consequences of crime, growth and prosperity.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thoughts About a New Jail Part II: Select Crime statistics for WA and Select Counties

The twenty year slide in Violent and Property crime in King County. King County (2014 pop = 2M) dominates WA trends in crime by virtue of its size and prosperity. Click to Enlarge.
RMF:  "I do not understand.  How does my state know how to spend my tax dollars if no one at the state level analyzes law enforcement data?"
OFM Analyst : "County and city law enforcement organizations receive their funding locally, not from the state.  Each county/city most likely analyzes their own data to determine what areas to focus on."   from an email thread of author with OFM.
"Jail planning is not based upon the strict application of a numerical standard contained in the existing LOS. Therefore, the numerical standard would be replaced with new Policy 4D-2, which supports construction of a new jail to safely provide needed corrections facilities over the 20-year planning period."  from draft  Chapter 4, Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan for Capital Facilities , April 10, 2015. [Bold for these quotes added by author for emphasis -RMF]