City of Yakima Makes Improving Public Safety a Priority - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Yakima Makes Improving Public Safety a Priority

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YAKIMA, Wash.--A big part of Yakima's 2013 Business Plan is about making you feel safer.

Expanding the gang unit, adding a crime analyst, and having officers patrol on foot are just a few solutions to cracking down on crime.

"I would like to see a lot more police through the harder neighborhoods," said Manuel Stevens. "We could always use that."

City Manager Tony O'Rourke said by the end of the year, the city wants to reduce the number of robberies, burglaries and auto thefts by 10 percent. An achievable figure to some, but to others it's a big figure for a city with big crime.

"I think it's not the police officer, I think it's one, the people and two, it's the cars and how easy they are to break into," said Christina Murray of Yakima.

"There's socioeconomic issues involved there that go far beyond what the city can control so we hope with improving the economy, and the improved law enforcement efforts on our own part that combined we'll start making a significant dent," said O'Rourke.

Many people are excited to see these changes, especially the lighting and safety improvements to North First Street, an area many said they try to avoid at all cost.

"My roommate, she works down there," said Murray. "She's a bartender on First Street, and she has to be walked out every night by security there."

"North First Street is a rough area, and I would like to see something change down there," said Stevens. "Yakima is turning into a very beautiful town, and it's just going to be amazing to see what it turns into."

O'Rourke said the public will get direct feedback on whether progress is being made. Then, another citizen survey will be sent out in the summer.

People are encouraged to let the city know if you're feeling more secure in Yakima.