Yakima County burglaries, robberies down

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Some encouraging information when it comes to crime in Yakima County. Reported incidents of home invasions, robberies and burglaries are down sharply so far this year.

"I heard screaming and somebody knocking really hard at the door like they were breaking in," said Nieves Gonzalez who lives in Wapato.

Gonzalez was visiting her mother's home in Wapato when two men busted through the neighbor's front door.

Police said the neighbors were held hostage as the men ransacked the home and took off with a big screen TV and jewelry.

Nieves said she was frozen.

"I didn't even bother to look out the window," she said.

"Just too afraid?" KIMA asked.

"Yes," she said.

Police arrested Joseph Flores for the crime and say he admits doing it. He's locked up facing kidnapping and burglary charges.

Action News pulled the numbers to find out how often burglaries and robberies are happening in Yakima County. The number of reported cases are down so far this year.

According to the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, we've seen 388 burglaries so far this year. There were 508 burglaries for the same period in 2012. Robberies over that time dropped from 40 to 13.

The numbers are also down in Wapato. Burglaries dropped from 55 to 9 so far this year. Robberies went from about 70 to 50.

The numbers are down countywide, but of course there are areas across the valley that likely buck that trend, like this neighborhood in Wapato.

"This neighborhood hasn't changed at all, one bit," Gonzalez said.

KIMA covered two violent home invasions in recent months on Balsam Lane in Wapato. Nieves said neighbors have since formed a grassroots crime watch.

"We lock up and when we take off somewhere we have our next door neighbors over there look over my mom's house," she said.

A day Nieves wishes never happened is stuck in her memory. Terrifying thoughts that can happen anywhere.

Deputies say the number of robberies and burglaries go up and down in cycles. They say sometimes big arrests or a better economy can help.