Yakima Crimes Rates Down But Still Lags Behind Similar Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Crimes Rates Down But Still Lags Behind Similar Size Cities

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Yakima is becoming safer. That's one thing you might not hear all the time but the numbers prove it. Yakima is becoming safer. That's one thing you might not hear all the time but the numbers prove it.

YAKIMA, WA - Yakima is becoming safer. That's one thing you might not hear all the time but the numbers prove it. Crime rates have been dropping consistently ever since peaking in the 1980's and this year was no exception.
 
"I come from the late 80's here when we were dealing with prolific open drug dealing on the sidewalks and stolen property being sold right in front of us," Captain Rod Light said. "So you're not seeing that element that much anymore."

Almost every major crime statistic lowered last year including violent crime, rape and assault. The biggest change was motor vehicle theft, down by almost half.

"The front line officers are out there day in and day out all night long doing a good job," Captain Light said. "And it's really paying off for our city."

But the numbers also show room for improvement. According to the FBI's 2012 statistics, Yakima is above average in violent crimes and assaults among cities with a population between 90 and 100 thousand people. And Yakima has nearly triple the average rate of murders and motor vehicle thefts. Despite the numbers, people we talked to in Yakima said they feel safe.

"For the most part I feel pretty safe. I've been here for 25 years and I made this my home," Patricia Jaime said.

"Really I don't have any reason not to, I think we have good protection," Marge Decker said.

The city council has made public safety a top priority increasing public safety spending by more than 2 million dollars  this year. The money went toward adding police officers, assigning take home patrol cars and creating a second Gang Unit to be on the streets 7 days a week.

"We're really trying to get this crime problem under control so we can take our community and bring it to that next level of economic development," Mayor Micah Cawley said. "And really have people come here to Yakima and find out it is a great place to live."

While the numbers are improving, there is still work to be done to make everyone safe.

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