Crashes reported to Shoreline police up 65%; serious injury and fatal crashes up 94%; police vacancies and street racers blamed

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A map from the WSDOT crash data portal shows ten years of fatal and serious injury crashes in Shoreline

By Oliver Moffat

Shoreline’s annual police report released this week shows a 65% increase in crashes reported to police. Crashes that kill or leave people with life altering injuries have increased in Shoreline by 94%. Police traffic citations have fallen since 2018. The police blame staffing shortages and street racers.

A grim statistic appeared in Shoreline’s 45-page annual Police Service Report presented to the Shoreline city council at this week’s meeting.

A graph from the city’s 2023 Police Service Report shows the number of reported traffic collisions in Shoreline has increased by 65%

Between 2018 and 2022 the city averaged 394 car crashes reported to police each year. But in 2023, the police responded to 651 crashes - an increase of 65%.

In comments to the city council, Chief of Police Kelly Park said, “the reported driving for folks out there is just highly aggressive and we have a lot more poor driving going on.” She added that street racing has been a significant contributing factor.

The reported crash numbers exclude suspected hit-and-runs and DUIs. DUI citations have also increased to 43 after hitting a low of 20 in 2021.

A graph from the Shoreline police report shows the number of traffic citations issued by Shoreline police dropped from 5,263 in 2018 to 312 in 2022.

A graph from the same police report shows the number of traffic citations issued by Shoreline police dropped from 5,263 in 2018 to 312 in 2022.

Because of staffing shortages, Shoreline has re-assigned its traffic unit to cover 911 calls.

Chief of Police Kelly Park (left) and Captain Tim Meyer present the annual police service report to the Shoreline city council

The police report cited a “… staffing crisis caused by the loss of over 50 commissioned officers with King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), who Shoreline contracts with for police services, due to the vaccine mandate in 2021.”

Chief Park said her department has a goal to rebuild the city’s traffic unit this year.

Fifteen years of data compiled from WSDOT and the city’s traffic reports show fatal and serious injury crashes in Shoreline have increased from an average of 10 to an average of 19 per year

According to data collected from WSDOT and Shoreline’s annual traffic report, for the ten years from 2008 through 2018, the city averaged 10 fatal and serious injury crashes per year.

But that rate jumped starting in 2019. For the five years from 2019 through 2023, the city averaged 19 series injury and deadly crashes per year - a 94% increase.

On Monday April 15, 2024 the city council will hold a public hearing and discuss Shoreline’s Transportation Improvement Plan. The plan, which serves as a six-year roadmap for transportation projects in the city, is updated each year.

According to last year’s plan, the city has identified $365 million dollars worth of traffic improvements. However (spoiler alert) $95 million worth of projects are unfunded and $110 million are only partially funded.


Anonymous,  April 4, 2024 at 6:18 AM  

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is a launching point for street racers on many a summer night. Easy to ticket if one is interested.

Anonymous,  April 4, 2024 at 9:36 AM  

How much of these percentages incorporate the fentanyl problem? I've seen pedestrians walk against the traffic lights - as if playing a king in a play. (Hallucinations?) In daylight drivers can see them. Dusk, night, dawn it is so difficult to see (dark colored clothes, hoodies, don't help) that there is a person where you wouldn't normally see someone.

Anonymous,  April 4, 2024 at 2:29 PM  

Thank you Oliver, for an excellent summary of an important issue. Is there a similar map that identifies accident locations by time of day or night?

Anonymous,  April 4, 2024 at 9:49 PM  

Cell phones, folks. Everyone out there has them and too many people are using them while driving.

Anonymous,  April 5, 2024 at 6:08 AM  

Everyone is on their phone. My drive from Gig Harbor to Renton or to Shoreline are scary seeing so many on their phones. They are all over the road.

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