YAKIMA, WA - At the national level, more people were killed from 2019 to 2020 than ever recorded.

93 percent of the nation is deemed a safer place to live than in Yakima.

Murder and crime rates are growing concerns in our community. In 2021, we have seen 9 homicides in Yakima, and we still have three months to go.

It's more important to look at the aggravated assault numbers, which includes shootings and stabbings said Yakima Police Chief, Matthew Murray.

Murray said 90 percent of the time, these crimes are gang-related, but now are involving more innocent people than ever before.

"We've seen in this year alone, innocent victims caught in the crossfire and hurt or killed by gang members, and we can't just allow that to continue," said Murray.

How can we help?

Filing an online police report when possible allows officers to respond to more violent or dangerous calls.

"I understand sometimes that it's frustrating because we may not come out to your theft call [in time]," said Murray, "but that's because we're really focusing our efforts to reduce violent crime."

The police department leans on a lot of people to help stop these crimes, including the county's prosecuting attorney.

"The crime in Yakima County is high and the reality is that we are very stressed as an office," said the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney, Joseph Brusic.

Brusic said he hopes if we aggressively prosecute these criminals, violent crime will drop.

That's why Brusic tries to charge people with the utmost charge he can with the information he's given, but he said oftentimes, it's just not enough.

"We need people's help, so if the people see something, say something," said Brusic.

Murray and Brusic said their main goals are to uphold public safety and hold people accountable.