This Town in Washington State Takes the Crown for Most Violent

Washington State is known for its natural beauty, diverse culture, and progressive policies. However, it also has some towns that struggle with high rates of violent crime. One of them is Fife, a small town near Tacoma that has been ranked as the most violent town in the state.

What is Fife and why is it so violent?

Fife is a town of about 11,000 people located in Pierce County, about 30 miles south of Seattle. It is part of the Tacoma metropolitan area and has a history of being a farming and industrial community. According to the 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Report, Fife had a violent crime rate of 1,263 per 100,000 residents, which was more than three times the state average of 358 and the national average of 367. Fife also had the highest rates of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault among all towns and cities in Washington.

The reasons for Fife’s high crime rate are complex and multifaceted. Some of the factors that may contribute to it are:

Poverty and inequality: Fife has a median household income of $54,000, which is lower than the state average of $78,000 and the national average of $62,000. It also has a poverty rate of 16%, which is higher than the state average of 10% and the national average of 12%. Poverty and inequality can create social and economic stress, which can lead to violence and crime.

Drug and alcohol abuse: Fife has a high rate of substance abuse, especially among young people. According to the 2018 Washington Healthy Youth Survey, 32% of Fife students reported using alcohol in the past month, compared to 22% of students statewide. 20% of Fife students reported using marijuana in the past month, compared to 17% of students statewide. 9% of Fife students reported using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription in the past year, compared to 6% of students statewide. Substance abuse can impair judgment, increase impulsivity, and fuel aggression, which can lead to violence and crime.

Gang activity and turf wars: Fife has a problem with gang activity, especially among young people. According to the Pierce County Gang Assessment, there are about 70 gangs operating in the county, with about 2,000 members. Some of the gangs that are active in Fife are the Hilltop Crips, the East Side Lokotes, the South Side Locos, and the Native Gangster Bloods. These gangs are involved in drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, and violence. They often clash with each other over territory, money, and respect, which can result in shootings, stabbings, and homicides.

What is being done to reduce violence in Fife?

Fife is not oblivious to its crime problem and has taken some steps to address it. Some of the initiatives that have been implemented or proposed are:

Increasing police presence and resources: Fife has increased its police force from 25 officers in 2010 to 34 officers in 2020. It has also invested in new equipment, vehicles, and technology for its police department. Fife has also partnered with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the Tacoma Police Department, and the FBI, to share information, coordinate operations, and target high-risk offenders.

Enhancing community engagement and prevention: Fife has launched several programs and events to engage with the community and prevent violence. For example, it has established a Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) unit, which focuses on building relationships and trust with the residents, businesses, and schools in Fife.

It has also organized a [National Night Out] event, which is an annual celebration of community and safety. Fife has also supported various youth programs, such as the [Boys and Girls Club], the [Fife Youth Commission], and the [Fife Mentor Program], which provide positive activities, opportunities, and role models for young people.

Improving social and economic conditions: Fife has recognized that crime is not only a law enforcement issue, but also a social and economic issue. It has therefore pursued some policies and projects to improve the quality of life and opportunities for its residents. For example, it has adopted a [Housing Action Plan], which aims to increase the supply and affordability of housing in Fife. It has also developed a [Downtown Revitalization Plan], which aims to create a vibrant and attractive downtown area with mixed-use development, public amenities, and cultural activities.


Fife is a town in Washington State that has a high rate of violent crime, which is influenced by various factors, such as poverty, substance abuse, and gang activity. However, Fife is not hopeless and has taken some measures to reduce violence, such as increasing police presence, enhancing community engagement, and improving social and economic conditions. Fife is a town that faces many challenges, but also has many strengths and potentials. It is a town that deserves attention, support, and respect.

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