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Does crime pay? Most car thieves, burglars get away in Washington

car theft.jpg
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"Nineteen of 20 car thieves aren’t caught, four of five criminals who commit other types of thefts aren’t caught and more than two of three robbers get away with it, said a data expert.

In Washington, it appears crime does pay for some criminals.

The chance of a being arrested for stealing a car or burglarizing a house is pretty low. That’s what nine years of crime statistics from the Office of Financial Management show.

Matt Rosenberg, with the non-profit news site Public Data Ferret, analyzed the numbers, which compared the number of crimes committed in any given year to the number of arrests made for those types of crimes. 

Matt Rosenberg says what he found was striking.

" For instance, I saw that 19 of 20 car thieves aren’t caught, four of five criminals who commit other types of thefts aren’t caught and more than two of three robbers get away with it," he said.

And, Rosenberg says, the number of arrests for rape is also amazingly low.

“It’s never really been more than 30 percent of the number of reported rapes," he said.

Rosenberg points out the state does much better when it comes to catching murderers. The arrest rate is over 95 percent when compared to crimes committed.

As for how Washington compares to the rest of the country, the United States as a whole does a better job of catching criminals.

Public Data Ferret is part of the non-profit group, Public Eye Northwest.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.