YAKIMA, Wa. -- After recent murders in West Valley, city leaders are listening to the community’s concerns and working to find solutions to improve people’s safety.
The Yakima City Council hosted a public safety forum at the Harman Center Monday night and many locals say they are worried about the recent crimes in their area.
“It’s sad to see this sort of thing going on and now its reaching out here at the West Valley end as well," said a local.
“I won’t go out at night by myself because I don’t know how safe I am. It’s sort of almost like being in prison," said local Cathy Franklin.
In 2018 there have been 16 homicides in the city with two of them happening in West Valley.
The most recent one happened the day after Thanksgiving at the West Valley Community Park.
Council member Holly Cousens says they want to give District 7 a voice and receive any recommendations from the public.
“They had some comments and concerns about safety in District 7 so I thought what a better way to get everybody together and work together to find some solutions to see what we can do to make it better," said Cousens.
During the meeting a county commissioner, police officers, parks and recreation manager and many more spoke with the attendees about ways to prevent future crimes.
Some of the solutions included reporting any suspicious behavior no matter how insignificant it might seem, assigning police officers to specific districts so the community gets to know them, expand the number of block watch programs in the city and much more.
“What I’ve heard from the constituents that contacted me is safety really around the park and what we can do to make it a little more transparent whether that clearing foliage, whether that’s a gate, whether that’s more safety lights," said Cousens.
Cousens says they are hoping to keep working together with the community so that they can stop violence and crime from happening in that area.
For more information on the public safety forum contact Holly Cousens.