There was a Madison Valley burglary about once a week during 2014, but the burglary rate varied greatly during the year.
Forty seven residential burglaries in Madison Valley were reported to the police during 2014. As a rate, this is slightly less than one per week and 3.9 per month. However, there was great variation around this overall rate. For example, February, April and August each had only one residential burglary, while there were eight in May and nine in November. During 2014 there was no clear seasonality in burglaries; high burglary months were preceded and followed by low to medium burglary months.
The Madison Valley burglary rate for 2014 was about the same as it was in 2013.
For the ten months that I covered Madison Valley police reports in 2013 there were 37 residential burglaries, a rate of 3.7 per month. Thus, the rate for 2014 was probably not much different than it was in 2013.
What was the likelihood that a household was burglarized during 2014?
In principle, one could easily calculate the likelihood that a Madison Valley residence was burglarized during 2014 by dividing 47 by the number of households in Madison Valley. However because the area we think of as Madison Valley encompasses parts of several census tracts, I cannot determine the number of households in our area. I therefore examined only the data for King County census tract number 77, which comprises the heart of Madison Valley (with approximate boundaries of Roy and Union on the north and south and 23rd and 31st on the west and east). According to the 2010 Census and recent American Community Survey figures, there are roughly 2100 households in Census Tract 77, and during 2014 there were 29 residential burglaries in that tract. So the likelihood that an individual household in Tract 77 was burglarized in 2014 was approximately 1.4 percent (29/2100), or about 1 out of 72.
Only about half of the 2014 residential burglaries involved forcible entry.
Of the 47 residential burglaries during 2014, just under half (47 percent) involved forcible entry. Thus, in slightly more than half of the reported burglaries the burglar(s) entered through an unlocked door, window, or garage. This suggests that many 2014 residential burglaries in our area were opportunistic rather than planned. If so, the 2014 residential burglary rate would have been substantially lower if people had been more careful in keeping their residences securely locked when they were absent.
Are some parts of Madison Valley more prone to residential burglary than others?
The accompanying map shows the approximate locations of the residential burglaries during 2014, indicating whether each was a forcible-entry burglary (red) or not (green). There appears to be no clear difference between forcible entry and non-forcible entry burglaries as far as their spatial distributions are concerned, and both appear to be more frequent south of E. Madison than north of it. However, the greater burglary prevalence south of Madison during 2014 may be due to higher residential densities or to random variation rather than to any greater likelihood that an individual household will be burglarized there. Determining which of these alternatives is correct will require more time and more detailed data than those currently available.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.