Yakima sees significant drop in crime rate

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The KIMA Crime Tracker is looking to see if crime is getting better in Yakima, and it is. It's dropped 20 percent in the last two years.YPD's emphasis patrols in problem areas play a big part.

There are parts of town Jana Lloyd worries about when it comes to safety. She says it's not uncommon to hear gunshots.

"I hear them all the time, all the time, all over the place," said Jana.

The Yakima Police Department is constantly working to make the city safer. The overall crime in Yakima dropped 20 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Car thefts in those two years in Yakima dropped by more than 50 percent. Rape dropped by almost 40 percent, and burglaries dropped by 29 percent.

The statistics surprised Jana.

"Really? It really went down 20%? I thought it would shoot up 20%," she said.

YPD credits extra patrols in places with a lot of crime, including areas with a lot of car thefts. It's a crime Yakima is notorious for. Officers have aggressively pursued well-known car thieves to lock them up for a while, as well as putting emphasis patrols on North First Street.

Adrian Meraz said he feels safe, but his workplace has been broken into.

"We got broken into a couple times, so I guess it's not very safe for our tools to be around," said Adrian.

Yakima police also believe crime is deterred by officers taking their patrol cars home. Officers monitor their police radios even when off duty, and more criminals could see police cars driving around.

"I walk all over town with my niece and my nephew, and I don't want them being with me if somebody ends up shooting at me," said Jana.

YPD said the drop in Yakima's crime rate mirrors the nation's lower crime rate.