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Archive for the ‘Public Safety’ Category

Crime charges in WA courts at 12-year low; recidivism holds

by August 20th, 2013

Total cases filed by prosecutors in Washington state’s criminal courts reached a new low in 2012 compared to the 11 years prior, but the rate at which charged individuals released to the community experience “recidivism” – or being criminally charged again within three years – has continued to hold steady since 2001. It’s been about 50 percent for individuals with domestic violence or “DV” charges classified as current; and about 40 percent for those with older charges of DV or other crimes. The findings come in a new report from the government-funded Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The study explains that charges rather than convictions are used as a leading indicator of recidivism in the comparison groups because in instances of alleged domestic violence, victims often decide not to press the case even if the crime may very likely have occurred.

From Recidivism Trends of Domestic Violence Offenders in Washington State, WSIPP, Aug. 2013

A related WSIPP report issued earlier this year which surveyed the current scientific literature reaffirmed there is no lowering of DV recidivism rates resulting from state’s mandated emphasis on treating DV offenders through the so-called “Duluth model.” That approach accents the causative roles of gender, and social and historical constructs. WSIPP did find research showing that other practices which cut recidivism in the general offender population may also help Washington DV offenders avoid new charges, but that focused in-state tests are needed to better document potential.

Criminal charges at 12-year low
The new report starts out by accenting that total misdemeanor and felony criminal cases filed in Washington local and county courts numbered just 181,985 in 2012 – less than the 2001 low of 187,222 within the 12-year period covered. Nearly four-fifths, or 78 percent of the criminal cases filed in 2012 were misdemeanors, the rest felonies. That divide has held steady since at least 2001.

The per capita rate of non-domestic violence criminal cases filed per 1,000 residents has dropped from just under 35 in 2001 to just under 30 in 2011 while the rate of domestic violence cases filed has held relatively steady over that time at between seven and eight per 1,000.

DV offenders charged more often; and at higher risk for violence
Compared to those actually convicted of non-domestic violence felonies or misdemeanors, current or prior domestic violence offenders in the 2008 cohort were charged with crimes more than twice as often. By a factor of four they were more likely to have earned a high risk classification for violence, according to the WSIPP report.

2001 to 2008 recidivism trends in WA
Charge-based recidivism rates have held relatively steady since 2001. A graph in the report (below, left) shows that from 2001 through 2008 steadily half of individuals with a current DV charge have had some sort of criminal charge filed against them again with three years, versus more than 40 percent for those with older charges of DV or other crimes. When subsequent convictions within three years of a charge are used as the recidivism measure, the rates tend to drop six to eight points based on 2008 data in the WSIPP study.

Domestic violence is defined as “acts or threats of physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking by one household or family member against another…” Because it takes three years to assess whether a released offender will be charged again with a criminal offense, for the purpose of calculating recidivism rates, there is a lag in the data. The most recent year for which the rates are reported in the WSIPP study is 2008, which includes charges filed through 2011 against offenders released in 2008.

From Recidivism Trends of Domestic Violence Offenders in Washington State, WSIPP, Aug. 2013

“Duluth” treatments in WA ineffective
In a related study published in January of this year, WSIPP synthesized the literature of domestic violence or “DV” prevention and surveyed treatments used in other states. The institute reaffirmed earlier findings that Washington’s “Duluth model” for treatment – which emphasizes the crime category is “a gender-specific behavior which is socially and historically constructed” – has no effect on recidivism.

Other approaches show promise
The January 2013 WSIPP study did identify several other approaches to treating domestic violence that in earlier targeted studies cut DV recidivism by an average of one-third but the methods. These included relationship counseling, “cognitive behavioral therapy,” couples therapy and drug and alcohol treatment. Such approaches would have to be tested specifically in Washington State to assess impacts on DV recidivism, WSIPP cautioned.

Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

“Smart guns” with user ID coming; Washington state reactions mixed

by July 3rd, 2013

In January of this year a month after the murder of 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by a disturbed shooter using his mother’s weapons, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to address gun violence – including commissioning a report that would assess the state and availability of new gun safety technologies to limit unauthorized use. On June 17 came the assessment from the National Institute of Justice. “A Review of Gun Safety Technologies” says two different types of what some term “smart guns” – keyed to authorized users only – are coming to market this year and advance orders are already being taken for one, the Kodiak Intelligun.

But reactions to the report were mixed among Washington state law enforcement officials, legislators and gun rights supporters. Some saw potential benefits in improved safe storage and could foresee continuing progress in performance and acceptance. Others worried about reliability or said the emphasis instead should be on illegal possession, a more robust system of background checks, and more educational outreach to at-risk teens about added penalties for using a gun in a crime.

Seattle “Kitchen Nightmares” family now faces greater test

by July 1st, 2013

A former assistant chef at a popular eatery in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood who starred earlier this year with her engaging, squabbling Greek family on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Fox Network reality show “Kitchen Nightmares,” has been charged with the felony crime of unlawful imprisonment and a male companion with assault in the second degree for allegedly holding captive and brutally beating in her Shoreline dwelling a resident of a King County Housing Authority apartment complex for seniors and the disabled. According to police reports the victim learned the pair were using crack cocaine during the course of a two-day stay in her home. Other sources including the assistant chef herself in a jail intake interview, and her parents, confirm she had suffered a drug abuse relapse.

New DOJ report: U.S. firearm homicide rate at 18-year low

by May 16th, 2013

The rate of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. in 2011 was 3.6 per 100,000 persons, the same as in 2010 and otherwise lower than any year from 1993 forward, according to a new report from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The previous low in the 18-year study period was 3.8 in 2000. And, according to the BJS report, the rate in 2011 of non-fatal firearm victimizations, or reported acts of violence in which firearms were used, was 1.8 per 1,000 people 12 and older. That was up one-fifth of one percent from the last two years but down five-and-one-half points since 1993.

5 years for repeat DUI offender, after Snoqualmie bust

by May 10th, 2013

With nine prior convictions from 1986 to 2005 for driving under the influence of alcohol plus felony convictions in Yakima County for two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one for vehicular assault – stemming from a 1991 tragedy when he had a blood alcohol level of .30 – Dwight Lloyd Casady was driving without a legal license along Railroad Avenue at River Street in Snoqualmie, Wash.

According to King County Court documents, police signaled him to stop because his taillights were covered with mud. He was very slow to respond and drove half on the shoulder for some distance.

Field sobriety and blood alcohol tests showed him to be clearly impaired.

Asked to place his right heel to his left toe, he kept falling.

When an officer who had taken him to the station noticed a particular smell he admitted he had urinated himself.

Compounded by a high “offender score” from his past record, Casady, 47, of Harrah, Wash. last Friday May 3 in King County Superior Court was sentenced to five years in prison for his felony DUI conviction based on the January arrest in Snoqualmie.

A charge also filed in connection with the January incident, for driving with a suspended or revoked license, a gross misdemeanor, was ultimately not prosecuted.

In the 1991 tragedy in Yakima County, Casady’s impaired driving resulted in the deaths of two and the “serious maiming” of a third person, court records state.

The related convictions for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault earned him a sentence in October 1991 of 89 months, or almost seven-and-a-half years.

Yet records in the recent case also reveal that by 1997 he was out of jail and convicted in that year for one of his nine DUIs, plus two more in 1998.

His most recent DUI conviction prior to Friday’s felony sentence was in 2005.

His extralegal endeavors also include felony convictions in Snohomish County in 2002 for theft and unlawful imprisonment. Overall, Dwight Lloyd Casady has been named as a defendant 57 times in municipal and superior courts in Washington since 1980, primarily in Yakima and Snohomish counties. In 1999, the Seattle Times reported he was attacked with an axe and underwent surgery as a result, after threatening to kill a man for spilling a beer in a Snohomish County bar.

In response to last week’s felony DUI conviction, Casady’s attorney, Seth D. Conant, immediately filed notice of intent to appeal.

Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

Guilty plea by Renton pipe bomb suspect, sentencing in May

by April 10th, 2013

A man with 14 prior criminal convictions pled guilty last month in King County Superior Court to a felony charge that came after he left a potentially lethal pipe bomb outdoors on a late June, 2011 day adjacent to the Renton Library and a popular walking path along the Cedar River. He is to be sentenced next month, and was under community supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections at the time. According to court documents, Nicholas Joel Bailey told Renton Police he bought the materials for the pipe bomb at McLendon’s Hardware in Renton. He carried it around in a backpack for several days. On June 22, 2011 he was walking on the Cedar River Trail near the library and became alarmed when he saw two police cars go by, so he deposited a blue and white sports bag with the pipe bomb in ivy hedges beside the trail near the busy local library and recreation hub.

Washington state near top in 51-year rates of rape, larceny

by January 8th, 2013

Washington ranks near the top, or seventh out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, in average annual rate of reported forcible rape over the 51 years from 1960 through 2011, according to data extracted from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting database and their 2011 update. Washington’s average annual rate of reported forcible rape over the 51 years was 38.97 per 100,000 population. That was exceeded only by Alaska, Michigan, Washington D.C., New Mexico, and Delaware. Washington was also 5th from the top in rate of reported larceny theft from 1961 through 2011. In terms of the rate of violent crime overall, Washington State was 28th of 51 over the same stretch. These are just a few of a wide variety of findings on all 50 states and the nation that are possible through the new Tableau Software crime data visualization below.


From the data viz below, use the pull-down menu titled “crime category” to double-click on a type of crime – there are 10. From the second pull-down menu, choose a year (with “All” covering 1960 through 2011). You’ll get a custom graph showing the rate per 100,000 population of the given crime in the given year. You can hover over states on the U.S. map below in the bottom frame for quick comparisons, and click on a state in the map to get a custom 51-year graph in the top frame.


The viz resides at the “Crime Map” tab – make sure that is the one selected; “Comments” and “Additional Comments” have technical notes on the data processing by the FBI. To generate copy-and-paste embed code for the viz below, click directly on “share.”

RELATED: “Violent crime, murder rates at all-time lows in Washington,” Public Data Ferret; Crime+Data Visualization archive, Public Data Ferret.

Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

WA far outpaces U.S. in gun buy background checks

by January 3rd, 2013

New federal data tied to one prominent indicator suggests Washington state is far outpacing neighboring states plus California and the United States in firearms purchases from 1999 through 2012. That’s the number of background checks submitted from federal firearms licensees to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on behalf of unlicensed buyers, under the federal Brady law. The total from Washington has grown from 133,674 in 1999 to 519,209 in 2012, or 288 percent versus 114 percent nationwide, 66 percent in Oregon, 70 percent in Idaho and 28 percent in California. The data come from updated annual state-by-state and nationwide NICS summaries issued this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (See chart, below).