West Valley Safety Forum 12/10/2018

YAKIMA, WA - Dozens of people who live in West Valley attended a safety meeting Monday evening.

The meeting comes after two deadly shootings, which happened near West Valley Middle School this year.

Council member, Holly Cousens, who represents District 7 put together the safety forum because residents have expressed they are concerned for their safety.

"I was really sad to hear that this had to happen, but also at the same time I was really glad that it was happening. My son was friends with the most recent victim," said Melissa Vicente, West Valley resident.

The two fatal shootings happened within six months.

The first one on July 19th on 75th Avenue and the second shooting happened just last month on November 23rd on South 80th Avenue.

Yakima police, parks and recreation and city employees were all at the meeting to answer any questions and hear residents concerns.

One resident asked, 'How many block watch groups are near the West Valley Community Park area?' where the shootings happened and when he found out the answer was, "Not many," that told him something.

"What that told me was that we as neighbors, we are not talking to each other, you know we get busy, we have our own lives and sometimes I think if we feel that it's not affecting us then things are okay," said Luis Lopez, West Valley resident.

Both Lopez and Vicente agree with some of the suggestions residents brought up during the meeting.

"I think that better lighting in the park would a number one idea, for both sides, the 80th side and the middle school side. Maybe cameras would be a good idea, at least one on each end, but the number one would be having the gates, having them set up again," said Vicente.

Multi-Media Journalist

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