Is Tacoma More Dangerous Than Seattle?

Comparing Crime Rates Between Seattle and Tacoma

When comparing the crime rates between the two largest cities in the state of Washington, Seattle and Tacoma, it's important to consider a range of factors. These include the type of crime, the population size, and the crime rate per capita.

According to the latest FBI crime data, Tacoma has a notably higher crime rate than Seattle. The total crime rate in Tacoma is about 6,253 per 100,000 people, while in Seattle it's about 4,487 per 100,000 people. This implies that Tacoma has a significantly higher overall crime rate compared to Seattle.

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Looking at Violent Crimes

When focusing specifically on violent crimes such as assault, robbery, rape, and murder, Tacoma again tends to have higher rates. Tacoma's violent crime rate is approximately 947 per 100,000 people, while Seattle's rate is 634 per 100,000 people. This indicates that an individual is more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in Tacoma than in Seattle, on average.

Comparing Property Crimes

In terms of property crimes, such as burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft, Tacoma also reports higher rates than Seattle. The property crime rate in Tacoma is around 5,306 per 100,000 people, compared to Seattle's rate of 3,853 per 100,000 people.

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However, it's worth noting that both cities have property crime rates that are higher than the national average. This suggests that residents of both cities face a higher risk of property crime compared to residents in many other parts of the United States.

The Role of Population Density

Population density can play a significant role in crime rates. Seattle is more densely populated than Tacoma, which means that more crimes may occur simply because there are more people and more opportunities for crime. However, even when accounting for population size, Tacoma's crime rates remain higher.

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Perception of Safety

Despite the higher crime rates in Tacoma, it's important to note that feeling safe can also be subjective and influenced by personal experiences and perceptions. Some people may feel safer in Tacoma than in Seattle, or vice versa, depending on their personal experiences and the specific neighborhoods they frequent.

Overall, based on the objective data, Tacoma does appear to have higher crime rates than Seattle, making it statistically more dangerous. However, crime rates can vary significantly from one neighborhood to another within each city, and personal safety precautions can greatly influence an individual's risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Detailed Comparison of Crime Rates

  1. Violent Crime Rates: According to 2024 data from, Tacoma has a higher violent crime rate (43.3) compared to Seattle (32.3), with the national average being 22.7. Violent crime includes offenses like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault​​.
  2. Property Crime Rates: Tacoma also exhibits a higher property crime rate (85.2) than Seattle (76.9), against a national average of 35.4. Property crimes encompass burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson​​.

Crime Rate Dynamics in Seattle

Seattle's crime rates have shown notable trends over the years. From 2011 to 2021, violent crimes in Seattle increased significantly, as reported by the FBI. The total crime in Seattle for 2020 was 42,425 (5,499 per 100,000 people), with a property crime total of 37,593 and a violent crime total of 4,832. These rates were substantially higher than the national average, with violent crimes in Seattle being 62% higher and property crimes 149% higher than the national average​​.

Living Environment and Safety Considerations

  • Tacoma's Environment: Tacoma offers cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and a vibrant downtown area, albeit with a higher crime rate than Seattle. However, its education system isn’t as robust as Seattle's, which could be a consideration for families​​.
  • Seattle's Pros and Cons: Seattle boasts a thriving tech market and arts & culture scene. However, it faces challenges like an expensive housing market and a significant homeless crisis, which has impacted safety and crime rates in certain areas​​.
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Practical Advice for Residents and Visitors

For those residing or visiting these cities, it's important to be aware of the specific neighborhoods and their safety profiles. In Seattle, for instance, neighborhoods like South Park, Rainier Beach, and Brighton have higher crime rates, while areas like Hawthorne Hills and Matthews Beach are much safer​​.

While Tacoma has higher overall crime rates compared to Seattle, the difference isn't starkly disproportionate. The choice between living in or visiting either city should also consider other factors like the cultural environment, job opportunities, and specific neighborhood characteristics. The higher crime rates in Tacoma, especially in terms of violent and property crimes, do warrant caution, but this should be balanced with the city's other offerings. Similarly, while Seattle has certain safer neighborhoods, it's not without its challenges in terms of safety, especially in specific areas.

Aspect Tacoma, WA Seattle, WA National Average
Violent Crime Rate 43.3 32.3 22.7
Property Crime Rate 85.2 76.9 35.4
Notable Concerns Higher in both violent and property crime compared to Seattle and the national average. Lower than Tacoma in both categories, but still higher than the national average.
Safety Tips Awareness of neighborhood-specific crime rates and safety measures is advisable. Certain neighborhoods have higher safety concerns; research and caution are advised.
Additional Considerations Cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and a vibrant downtown, but the educational system is not as strong as Seattle's. Booming tech market, thriving arts & culture scene, but challenged by expensive housing market and homelessness crisis.

Based on updated data for both cities, Seattle shows a total crime rate of 65.73 per 1,000 residents with a violent crime rate of 8.19 and a property crime rate of 57.53 per 1,000 residents. Comparing this to Tacoma, it's evident that while Tacoma has a higher violent crime rate, Seattle's property crime rate contributes significantly to its overall crime figures. Here's the updated comparison:

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City Violent Crime Rate (per 100k people) Property Crime Rate (per 100k people) Total Crime Rate (per 100k people) Chance of Being a Victim (Violent Crime) Chance of Being a Victim (Property Crime)
Tacoma 843 5,507 6,351 1 in 63 1 in 12
Seattle 819 5,753 6,573 1 in 122 1 in 17

This table shows that while Tacoma has a notably higher violent crime rate, Seattle's overall crime rate is slightly higher when property crime is taken into account, indicating a substantial issue with property crimes in Seattle


Crime rates are based on FBI data as reported on​​.
Additional considerations on the living environment and safety in Tacoma and Seattle from​​​​.

This table provides a snapshot of the comparative crime statistics and living considerations in Tacoma and Seattle. It's important to note that these figures represent a general overview and individual experiences may vary. For those considering relocation or visitation to either city, it's recommended to conduct thorough research specific to the neighborhoods of interest.

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About the Author: Grady

Lifelong bacon junkie. Lifelong internet fanatic. Hipster-friendly travel aficionado. Twitter lover. Avid food buff. Incurable travel trailblazer.