Locals speak out at neighborhood forum addressing violence in Yakima


YAKIMA, Wash. -- Community members gathered for a neighborhood forum addressing violence in the northeast part of the city Saturday afternoon.

City councilmember Dulce Gutierrez lives in the area and organized the meeting near 8th and D streets after several brutal crimes -- including two murders -- took place there this year.

Dozens of people including victims' families voiced their concerns and said communication and unity among neighbors is necessary.

Yakima police and a prosecutor shared how to report a crime and explained the patrolling process. But community members said they have growing resentment and frustration that police are not always responsive and should continue to check in with witnesses and those affected by a crime.

"I think justice needs to be served and there's kids out here getting killed for no reason and it's not right, that they're getting killed; my brother was killed for no reason - he was just sitting in his car," said Gloria Cordova, whose 27-year-old brother Carlos Guerrero was shot last month.

"It's not easy for me right now," said Carlos's mother Evangelina Ruyna. "My son was a good samaritan here in Yakima for everybody and for his family."

Community members said more street lighting and a crackdown on school truancy could help. They would also like to see landlords that house gang members held accountable.

The meeting was in Spanish and part of several neighborhood forums the council will have in an effort to get community feedback and develop a long-term strategy to cut down on crime.

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