Crime Up in Urban Thurston County, But Crime Rates Vary Between Cities, Report Shows


Law enforcement in the Olympia metro area reported slightly more crime in 2021 compared to 2020, but changes in crime rates varied.

Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater each saw increases in reported offenses against people, property and society, according to an annual report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The 590-page report, released in late July, shows a snapshot of data from March 22 that was submitted by 232 law enforcement agencies. Murders and other violent crimes increased last year while fraud and drug offenses decreased across the state, according to the report.

Offenses in Olympia increased by just 0.2% from 4,483 in 2020 to 4,493 in 2021, the report shows. The city has a population of over 55,000.

Despite the increase, the city's overall crime rate per 1,000 people fell from 82.8 in 2020 to 81.7 in 2021, but this may be partly due to population increase.

Lacey police reported 3,122 offenses in 2021 and 2,823 offenses in 2020 — a 10.6% increase and the highest increase among the county's three largest cities. More than 57,000 people reside in the city.

The city's crime rate also rose from 53.4 in 2020 to 54.5 in 2021, making it the only one among the three to see an increase.

In Tumwater, the data shows there were 1,434 offenses in 2021 and 1,406 offenses in 2020, meaning crime rose by 2%. At the same time, the city's crime rate fell from 57.2 in 2020 to 56.5 in 2021.

There were more than 25,000 people in Tumwater in 2021.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office, which serves about 147,500 people who live in unincorporated areas, reported 3,926 offenses in 2021, the report shows. This is about 14.6% less than the 4,599 offenses reported in 2020.

The crime rate for these areas decreased from 31.2 in 2020 to 26.5 in 2021, according to the report.


Among crimes against people, simple assaults had the highest crime rate in Olympia at 8.7. Yet, such crimes actually decreased from 511 in 2020 to 478 in 2021, according to the report.

Meanwhile, aggravated assaults decreased 23.5% from 187 in 2020 to 143 in 2021. The report indicates there were only 2.6 such assaults per 1,000 in Olympia.

Notably, rape offenses in Olympia increased by 41.7% from 24 in 2020 to 34 in 2021. Kidnapping offenses also increased by 50% from 12 in 2020 to 18 in 2021, the report shows.

Contrary to statewide trends, the data show Olympia had just one murder in both 2020 and 2021. There were no manslaughter offenses in either year.

The city saw the most increases in property crimes. There were about 28.2 larceny-theft offenses per 1,000 Olympia residents, making it the crime with the highest rate in the city.

In 2021, the data show police reported 1,551 such offenses, a 17.9% increase compared to 2020.

Burglaries increased 16.7% to 349 in 2021 and robbery offenses increased by one to 72, according to the report.

Destruction of property, which had a 14.9 crime rate, increased 17.4% from 700 in 2020 to 822 in 2021. However, stolen property decreased 38.4% from 47 in 2020 to 29 in 2021.

Fraud offenses decreased 61.1% from 409 in 2020 to 159 in 2021, the report shows. These offenses rose to high levels in 2020 as more people filed unemployment claims, WASPC Executive Director Steven Strachan previously said.


Simple assaults had a 5.4 crime rate in Lacey, the highest such rate among crimes against people. In all, the report indicates there were 307 simple assaults in 2021 and 251 in 2020.

In 2021, aggravated assaults increased 15.4% to 60 and intimidation offenses increased 25% to 110. Rape offenses also increased 69.2% from 13 in 2020 to 22 in 2021.

Despite statewide trends, Lacey police reported no murder or manslaughter offenses in 2021 or 2020, according to the report.

Among property crimes, Lacey police reported a 6.5% increase in larceny-theft offenses from 1,162 in 2020 to 1,237 in 2021. There were 21.6 such offenses per 1,000 Lacey residents, the highest crime rate for any crime in the city.

Burglaries decreased 2.3% to 171 in 2021 and robbery offenses increased by 50% to 33, according to the report. Motor vehicle thefts also increased by 63.5% to 206 in 2021.

Destruction of property, which have a relatively high crime rate of 8.3, increased 36.9% from 347 in 2020 to 475 in 2021.

Fraud offenses decreased just 7.4% from 231 in 2020 to 214 in 2021, the report shows. This is a smaller drop than Olympia police and the Thurston County Sheriff's Office recorded.


Overall, crimes against people fell over the past two years in Tumwater, according to the report.

Simple assaults, which had a 5.7 crime rate, increased by 11.6% from 129 in 2020 to 144 in 2021. Meanwhile, the data show aggravated assault decreased from 40 in 2020 to 37 in 2021.

Rapes decreased by 30% to seven in 2021 and there were no murder or manslaughter offenses, per the report.

However, property crimes rose significantly. Tumwater police reported a 36.8% increase in motor vehicle theft from 68 in 2020 to 93 in 2021. Burglary offenses also increased by 23.7% from 97 in 2020 to 120 in 2021.

However, robbery offenses decreased 30.8% to just nine in 2021. Notably, larceny-theft offenses, which had the highest crime rate at 20.2, increased by 7.3% to 512 in 2021.

Destruction of property offenses, which have a 9.3 crime rate, rose 17.4% from 201 in 2020 to 236 in 2021.

Fraud offenses decreased just 3.8% to 76 in 2021, the report shows.

Unincorporated Thurston County

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office reported five murders in 2021, which is three more than the year prior, but there were no manslaughter offenses during either year.

Rape offenses also increased by one to 10 in 2021, the report shows. Simple assaults decreased 8% to 425 in 2021 but aggravated assaults increased by 23% to 214. Intimidation offenses also increased by 11.9% to 122 in 2021.

Among property crimes, the Sheriff's Office reported a 0.5% decrease in larceny-theft offenses from 1,101 in 2020 to 1,096 in 2021. The data show there are about 7.4 such offenses per 1,000 people served by the Sheriff's Office, making this the most prevalent crime in unincorporated areas.

Robberies increased 15.8% to 22 in 2021, but burglaries decreased 13.7% to 397. Destruction of property offenses, which have a 3.7 crime rate, rose 8.5% to 548 in 2021.

Similarly to statewide trends, fraud offenses decreased 57.1% from 666 in 2020 to 286 in 2021, the report shows.