The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has lost so many officers that it has dropped to staffing levels not seen since 1991, amid spiking crime.
A copy of the mayor’s 2024 budget proposal obtained by KOMO News stated, “The city’s police staffing crisis, now in its third year, has resulted in only 937 police officers available for deployment in the city as of August 31, 2023, the lowest number of in-service officers since 1991 and significantly below per-capita staffing relative to similarly situated jurisdictions.”
Yet since the 1990s, the city has grown by approximately 200,000 people, according to the US Census Bureau, leaving the Emerald City with only 1.3 officers per 1,000 residents.
The FBI recommends the average officer-to-resident ratio for cities similar in size to Seattle as 2.6 per 1,000 residents. Though other similar-sized cities such as Denver (1.9 officers per 1,000 residents), Phoenix (1.6 officers per 1,000 residents) and San Francisco (2.2 officers per 1,000 residents) also failed to meet the threshold, few were as far behind as Seattle.