Sunnyside ranks high on list of safest Washington cities

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Sunnyside has made a list of the top 25 safest cities in Washington. That's according to a real estate brokerage firm in the Bay Area.

Martha Rocha says Sunnyside isn't what it was years ago. She's lived in Sunnyside for more than 60 years.

"We don't see too much violence around like we used to," she said.

Martha says she used to see gangs walking around flashing their colors, but started feeling safer when she saw more police patrolling three years ago.

"It's a lot better," she said. "We can go for a walk at night, and we don't have to worry about violence."

Sunnyside is ranked the 24th safest place in Washington. It's compared to other cities with a population of more than 10,000. Data was used from the latest year available from an FBI crime report.

Juana Dominguez says her neighborhood used to be really dangerous. She says there was a fatal shooting near her house a couple years ago, but it's been quiet since.

"A little small kid got actually killed, and I'm really surprised for a couple years I haven't heard nothing: no shootings, nothing like that," said Juana.

KIMA looked at violent crime in Sunnyside for the first half of the year over the last three years. Homicides, major assaults and weapon offenses have all dropped.

Sunnyside police credit their gang-elimination strategy, as well as building more personal relationships with people in the community.

"It was really bad actually before," said Juana. "But now it seems more safer, more calm."

Other cities in Yakima County also made the list. Grandview ranked 47th and Yakima ranked 73rd.