Burglaries drop in Yakima County, but few cases are solved

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Hundreds of burglaries a year hit innocent people here in Yakima County. However, the KIMA Crime Tracker found there haven't been as many this year. Despite that, one key problem remains, very few cases are solved.

Yakima County Deputy Brian Jackson responded to a call of suspicious activity. It's a garage door that's ajar, but nobody is home.

What could have been a burglary turned out be a false alarm. But, Jazzy Chana, a 7/11 manager, wasn't so fortunate when robbers emptied his register in November.

"Our rule is we never have more than $60, $50 in each till anyways," said Chana. "So, your life is not worth $60. You just give them what they want."

Robberies are on about the same pace as last year in Yakima County. But, reported burglaries are down by more than 200. Burglaries remain the toughest cases to solve.

This year's clearance rate for making arrests is a little more than six percent. That's slightly better than last year's five percent.

"The number I look for is 100 percent in all honesty," said Sergeant Mike Russell. "But, of course that's just not reasonable. So anytime we can find out who these people are and get them in jail, I'm happy with it."

Jazzy wants to see more.

"The obvious answer would be to hire more cops," said Chana. "Then, that requires more money. I mean, it's a process, and I think that they are trying their best. But, there's only so much one can do."

Deputies say neighbors help solve a lot of cases. It can be as simple as calling authorities when something doesn't look right.

"We have a good idea who did it or we might even know who did it based on a guy's feeling and intuition, but we can't prove it," said Sgt. Russell. "We don't have the evidence and that for us is always a great frustration."

Sgt. Russell says burglaries are the toughest cases to solve. Most of the time, burglars don't leave a strong trail for investigators to follow.

Yakima County deputies credit the drop in burglaries this year to earlier criminal arrests.