Kennewick Police Dept. Wants More Officers to Keep Streets Safer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick Police Dept. Wants More Officers to Keep Streets Safer

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Kennewick residents could see 12 more officers patrolling the streets, if voters approve a criminal justice sales tax later this year. Kennewick residents could see 12 more officers patrolling the streets, if voters approve a criminal justice sales tax later this year.

KENNEWICK, WA - Kennewick residents could see 12 more officers patrolling the streets, if voters approve a criminal justice sales tax later this year.

At Tuesday's Kennewick City Council meeting, Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg presented the city's annual crime report for 2013.

Currently, the police department has 93 commissioned police officers  and they've just hired three more. But that's still not enough to meet the state's average.

As of 2013, the City of Kennewick had 1.22 officers per 1,000 city residents. In 2012, the state average was 1.68 officers per thousand, while the city's rate was 1.24

Hohenberg says the Benton County Law and Justice Committee will recommend that Benton County ask voters to pass a .3%  criminal justice sales tax this year.

The committee will meet Wednesday at noon to talk about the ballot measure and county commissioners are expected to consider the request March 4th.

Hohenberg hopes the issue will be on the ballot in August.

However, it's not all bad news. Over the past decade, Kennewick has become a safer place to live overall.

"The actual crime has gone from 51.2 crimes per thousand, down to 35.9 crimes per thousand over that 10 year period. That's a dramatic reduction in the overall crime rate," Chief Hohenberg told the city council.

Kennewick's population grew 2% in 2013, going from 75,160 in 2012 to 76,410 last year.

With a bigger population, more crime is expected. Violent crime was up 5% and property crime was up 2% in 2013. There were a total of 241 violent crimes and 2,503 property crimes last year.

To see more numbers from the Kennewick Police Department's presentation, click here.


  
  

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