Yakima police working to clean up high crime housing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima police working to clean up high crime housing

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- It's a problem people deal with all over Yakima, homes and apartments plagued by drugs, gangs, and other crime. But with the help of a city ordinance, police are cleaning up some problem spots.
"The police department was out there probably every single day, responding to some incident of some kind," said Enrique Jevons, the owner of Jevons Property Management in Yakima.

Jevons deals with hundreds of tenants every day. When his company took over managing the Columbia Apartments on Fruitvale Blvd., he says the crime problem was bigger than they ever expected.

"We were certainly working on some of it, but we had no idea the extent of the problem," said Jevons.

Because of all the 911 calls, Ofc. Ritch Fowler got involved in 2010, after Yakima's City Council adopted it's Nuisance Property Ordinance.

The ordinance says if police are called to a property three times in six months, then the owner is contacted to fix the problem. And if they don't, they could face big fines up to $25,000.

"It has to do with prostitution, drug activity, illegal activity, any criminal activity that's a nuisance and over burden on the city," Ofc. Fowler said.

He says since it started in 2010, the ordinance has helped clean up over 140 different properties around town.

And the program's been very successful too. Ofc. Fowler says police used to respond to 60-70 calls at the Columbia Apartments every month. But once the nuisance ordinance was implemented, that number was cut by half.

"It's a great step to make sure that we help out in fighting some of the crime that's going on in the city," said Jevons.

Most recently, Ofc. Fowler contacted the owner of the home where convicted felon Jacob Lucey was hiding out while on the run from police. YPD had 24 calls to the house since last year, making it a problem they want to fix.